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Ship to Ship Delivery of Project Handclasp During POA 07

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070423-18
Release Date: 4/23/2007 4:56:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Alexia M. Riveracorrea, Commander Destroyer Squadron 40 Public Affairs

USS PEARL HARBOR, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) transferred three pallets of supplies to USS Mitscher (DDG 57) during a vertical replenishment (VERTREP) at sea, playing a major part in the Navy’s Project Handclasp program April 16.

A Seahawk SH-60B helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 embarked aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) delivered pallets of food, medical supplies and recreation equipment from Pearl Harbor to Mitscher. The supplies will help those in need in Montevideo, Uruguay.

“This is the first evolution dealing with Project Handclasp material,” said Lt. Dennis Wheeler, Project Handclasp coordinator and ship’s chaplain. “The ships’ coordinated effort was excellent.”

According to Wheeler, the three ships combined will donate about 140 pallets of supplies to several different countries in support of the Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2007 Deployment.

“There are people in South America living in poor condition. They will truly appreciate these supplies that we, as Americans, take for granted all the time,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW/AW) Ivonne Brennick. “When you distribute these things to a group of people in need, it spreads goodwill and lets them know the United States and its Navy [are] interested in helping make their lives better.”

During the VERTREP, Pearl Harbor’s flight-deck crew hooked the pallet to the bottom of the helicopter by cargo net to lift it to Mitscher’s flight deck.

“The VERTREP went smoothly,” Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class (SW) Steve Benitez said. “This will allow us to continue our mission and train the Sailors and Marines who are new to this.”

Project Handclasp is a Chief of Naval Operations directed Navy goodwill program ensuring the needy not only receive the material, but also the service members involved gain personal appreciation for the challenging ways of life citizens of other nations can face.

The staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 40 assisted in coordinating the evolution.

“Our staff kept communication between ships the whole time, making sure the evolution was conducted successfully without incidents,” said Chief Cryptologic Technician Technical (SW/AW) Robert Woodin. “We also ensured the proper material was transported for the correct area.”

The commander of DESRON 40, Capt. Randy Synder, is the Task Group commander for POA Task Group 40.0. The Task Group consists of dock landing ship Pearl Harbor, guided missile destroyer Mitscher, guided-missile frigate Samuel B. Roberts and Chilean frigate CS Almirante Latorre (FFG 14).

Project Handclasp material distributions are normally performed in conjunction with community service projects like repainting/refurbishing schools, hospitals, clinics, orphanages and homes for the elderly. This combination multiplies the benefits and impact of our nation’s outreach. Navy personnel serve as ambassadors of care, on behalf of the people of the United States.

Project Handclasp is one of many ways that Partnership of the Americas 2007 will be working with partner nations throughout South America.

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