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Saipan ESG To Deploy To Caribbean For Humanitarian Assistance Exercise

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050118-06
Release Date: 1/18/2005 1:58:00 PM

From U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Saipan (LHA 2) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) will deploy Jan. 19 for approximately two months to the Caribbean. During the deployment, Saipan ESG will support a humanitarian assistance exercise in Haiti entitled New Horizons.

More than 50 members of the U.S. Navy's 22nd Construction Regiment and as much as 1,200 tons of supplies will embark Saipan and will support the rebuilding of schools and wells, as well as providing medical support to the victims of Hurricane Jeanne. Additionally, elements of the strike group will conduct maritime interdiction operations training and multinational exercises with marines from Honduras and Colombia.

The Saipan ESG is led by Capt. Chris Chace and includes Saipan, USS Trenton (LPD 14), USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) and embarked helicopter detachments from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 6 and Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 14.

This exercise will constitute the first deployment of elements of an ESG to the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command area of responsibility and will provide opportunities for the United States to partner with its neighbors in bringing relief to hurricane ravaged Haiti, while also providing a considerable maritime presence to the Caribbean. These forces will significantly enhance U.S. counter-drug detection and monitoring capabilities in the Caribbean while conducting maritime interdiction operations training with other U.S. surface combatants.

During visits to different areas of the region, Sailors will participate in local community projects and make donations in support of the Navy's Project Handclasp, promoting cultural understanding and friendship between the United States and its neighbors.

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