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LeFever Named Earthquake Disaster Assistance Coordinator

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051012-16
Release Date: 10/12/2005 6:00:00 PM

From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

ABOARD USS TARAWA, Persian Gulf (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Michael A. LeFever, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 1, has been designated as coordinator, Disaster Assistance Center, Pakistan.

LeFever and elements of his planning staff arrived on the ground in the nation's capital, Islamabad, Oct. 10 at the request of the government of Pakistan.

Four Navy helicopters from U.S. Naval Forces Central Command are en route to provide additional heavy lift support. The four helicopters include two Navy MH-53E Sea Dragons, which are expected to arrive Oct. 12, and two MH-60 Seahawks, which are in the process of being moved.

Elements of ESG-1 - the amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1), amphibious transport dock USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and frigate USS Ingraham (FFG 61) - are heading toward the Pakistani coast to be in a better position to provide additional support, if requested.

"We will do everything within our power to bring aid to the people of Pakistan," said LeFever. "We stand ready to provide food, water, medicine and medical personnel into the areas that need it most. We also will work as an enabler with the non-governmental relief organizations, getting where they need to go to support the Pakistani people back on the road to recovery."

ESG-1 also boasts a robust medical capability. Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 3 is embarked, along with medical personnel from the three ships. All told, more than 100 trained medical personnel can be employed, with a range of capabilities covering everything from first aid to anesthesia and surgical support.

"Our doctors and hospital corpsmen are ready and eager to help," said Capt. Monte Bible, ESG-1's surgeon. "Our number one concern right now is to prevent any further loss of life. We intend to arrive as quickly as possible and apply our expertise to relieve the suffering of the Pakistani people."

The adaptive nature of ESG-1 allowed for the planning element to be on a plane to Pakistan within hours of receiving the order from U.S. Central Command to provide whatever support the Pakistanis require.

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