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Enterprise Sailors Support Haitian Relief Effort

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100119-26
Release Date: 1/19/2010 11:03:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Croft, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, Newport News, Va. (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) sent 47 Sailors Jan. 19 to conduct humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The Sailors included 11 French-Creole speakers who will function as interpreters aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) which is off the coast of the impoverished nation caring for the most seriously injured.

Also assisting are three air traffic controllers, six aviation boatswain's mates, seven ship's servicemen, two information systems technicians and 18 Sailors from various specialties who will serve in general duties.

"Despite receiving less than 48-hours notice, we were overwhelmed by the number of Sailors who volunteered to go," said Capt. Ryan B. Scholl, the ship's executive officer. "This speaks volumes about the ethos that permeates the crew. They want to be on the front lines of this great humanitarian effort."

Aviation Electronics Technician Seaman Brandon M. Walker, from Enterprise's Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD), volunteered to go and is thrilled to lend a helping hand in the humanitarian efforts.

"I got a call last night (Jan. 17) about Enterprise sending Sailors to help out, and I came directly to the ship to talk to my chief about going," said Walker. "It never crossed my mind that what I will be doing will be dangerous; all I can think about is helping out however I'm needed."

Walker, a Woodbridge, Va. native, said going on missions like this one is the reason he joined the Navy two years ago.

"I joined because of the pride of belonging. I wanted to be able to say I am a Sailor in the United States Navy," said Walker. "Going on a humanitarian mission like this one just strengthens that pride I have for what we do as Sailors."

For some Sailors, the mission to Haiti will not be their first time to the country.

"I have been to Haiti, and the people there struggle more than most of us are used to," said Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Trey O. Miller from Enterprise's AIMD. "I volunteered to go on this mission because I wanted to show the people of Haiti that there is hope and there are people that care."

More than 7,000 U.S. military personnel are currently supporting Operation Unified Response on the ground in Haiti and from U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels operating in Haitian waters. U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is leading the military relief mission after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastated the country Jan. 12.

SOUTHCOM has established Joint Task Force Haiti to oversee U.S. military relief efforts in Haiti, with Army Lt. Gen. P.K. "Ken" Keen in command.

U.S. Southern Command's mission is to direct U.S. Naval forces operating in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions and interact with partner nations navies within the maritime environment. Routine operations include counter-illicit trafficking, theater security cooperation, military-to-military interaction and bilateral and multinational training.

SOUTHCOM is well-versed in providing humanitarian assistance to the region. Since 2005, the command has led U.S. military support to 14 major relief missions, including assistance to Haiti in Sept. 2008. During that mission, U.S. military forces airlifted 3.3 million pounds of aid to communities that were devastated by a succession of major storms.

Enterprise is currently undergoing a maintenance period in the Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard and training to maintain proficiency in preparation to return to the fleet. For more information about USS Enterprise, Carrier Strike Group 12 or Carrier Air Wing One visit www.Enterprise.navy.mil, www.ccsg12.surfor.navy.mil, and www.cvw1.navy.mil. You can also visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn65.
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For more news from USS Enterprise (CVN 65), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn65/.



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