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USS Fort McHenry Arrives in Haiti

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100119-24
Release Date: 1/19/2010 10:55:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Rachael L. Leslie, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

USS FORT MCHENRY, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) arrived in Haiti Jan. 18 to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in support of Operation Unified Response in the aftermath of Haiti's devastating earthquake.

The ship launched the first assault craft boats ashore to transport the first group of personnel to the island for a site visit Jan. 19.

"Late last night the crew aboard Fort McHenry, this great ship, anchored just off the coast of Haiti, about two miles off of our landing area," said Cmdr. Nate Moyer, Fort McHenry's commanding officer. "We're currently sending some folks ashore to establish an initial liaison with the Haitian population, and then we'll start moving all of our troops a little bit later on today."

Security personnel from Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadrons (MSRON) 6 were some of the first to go ashore with the mission of securing a location for the rest of the troops to land.

"I'm excited to be here and get to be a part of this," said Chief Master-at-Arms (EXW/SW) Derrick Lloyd, of MSRON 6. "I didn't get to participate in the relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina, and I'm happy I get to help this time. I know a lot of the guys are."

The mission of those who went ashore is to establish a site where the rest of the troops aboard Fort McHenry can set up camp in order to start providing support and aid to the people of Haiti as quickly as possible.

"We have a fully-integrated team aboard Fort McHenry," said Moyer. "It's a great support network with the crew aboard the ship, and we have some wonderful organizations stationed aboard that are immediately going to be providing relief to the general population on Haiti."

Sea-based amphibious ready forces, like the ones aboard Fort McHenry, bring added capabilities to aid the relief efforts in Haiti without taxing the already strained infrastructure ashore. The Fort McHenry team includes the ship's crew, members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, Assault Craft Unit 2, Beach Masters Unit 2, and MSRON 6 and 4. The group's equipment is comprised of heavy-lift and utility helicopters, trucks and humvees, assault amphibious vehicles and logistics capabilities, to include water purification and limited medical support to further enhance the humanitarian relief efforts ashore.

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