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Pearl Harbor Arrives in Pakistan to Assist Earthquake Victims

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051018-12
Release Date: 10/18/2005 12:57:00 PM

By Photographer's Mate 3rd Class (AW) Tony Spiker, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

KARACHI, Pakistan (NNS) -- The amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) arrived in Karachi, Pakistan, Oct. 18 to offload 13 pieces of heavy machinery to support the Pakistani earthquake relief effort.

Personnel from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 and NMCB 74, units forward deployed to Bahrain, assisted Pearl Harbor Sailors in offloading dump trucks, front-end loaders, backhoes, cargo trucks, a road grader, a forklift and a generator. The equipment will help to improve road access to areas most impacted by the recent devastating earthquake by clearing debris and fixing roads.

Pearl Harbor is the first U.S. Navy warship to participate in the joint relief effort.

“It is important in an effort like this to use all of the resources we have,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Harnden, Pearl Harbor’s commanding officer. “To help the Pakistani people, we need to maximize throughput; our naval assets in-theater have a very large sealift capability that can free up our helicopters and airlift assets.”

Pearl Harbor and other ships attached to Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 1 had just arrived in the North Persian Gulf when the ship received tasking to assist with the relief mission. According to Harnden, ESG 1’s posture in the region allowed the Navy to respond quickly to assist one of America’s key allies in the global war on terrorism.

“We were preparing to perform maritime security operations in support of the Iraqi oil platforms when we were tasked to help,” Harnden said. “We accomplished that mission quickly and without needing any additional personnel, supplies or training.”

Pearl Harbor’s busy operational tempo in the past few weeks has not fazed the men and women of the crew, according to the captain.

“They amaze me more every time we do an operation,” said Harnden. “They are serious young men and women who have volunteered to serve their country in a time of war and who tackle everything I throw at them with a spirit of determination and dedication to succeed that should make everyone proud.”

Pearl Harbor Sailors were eager to assist the Pakistani people.

“Everyone has had more work to do,” said Yeoman 1st Class (SW) Carl Wiggins. “From the yeomen to the deck crew, we have all had to take on a little more. But considering the mission, its well worth it.”

The commander of ESG 1, Rear Adm. Michael LeFever, leads the Disaster Assistance Center in Islamabad, where U.S. assistance efforts are coordinated. The three amphibious ships under his command, Pearl Harbor, the amphibious transport dock USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and the amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA 1), remain on standby to transport more relief supplies if necessary.

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