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Homeland Security

USS Denver Bringing Water, Aid to Indonesian Earthquake Victims

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091008-07
Release Date: 10/8/2009 6:39:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey H. Kyhl, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan

ABOARD USS Denver, At Sea (NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious transport dock USS Denver (LPD 9) is transiting to Indonesia to provide life-sustaining necessities to the recent victims of a devastating earthquake in Sumatra.

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck West Sumatra on Sept. 30, and the Indonesian government had requested international assistance.

"Denver is preparing to carry out our role in the Indonesian relief effort," said Capt. Gregory Fenton, Denver's commanding officer. "We have been officially tasked to take three 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit CH-53s down to support the disaster relief efforts in Indonesia," he said. "Denver is a very capable ship, and there are a lot of ways that we can help in a situation like this. Our ability to produce fresh water can be put to very good use; we're looking at how to efficiently move it ashore," Fenton added.

During previous humanitarian assistance operations, the U.S. Navy has responded with critically needed supplies to help ease human suffering. Since Navy ships can produce large volumes of fresh water, they become a valuable asset during such operations.

Denver's two distilling plants can produce a total of more than 60,000 gallons of potable water each day.

"We can produce all the potable water those 53s can carry off this ship and then a lot more," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate Bruce McDugald, Denver's engineering leading chief petty officer. "We have a distribution tank we can set up right on the flight deck for filling containers and getting water off the ship. It only takes a few people to operate and really speeds up circulation."

In addition to airlift capability, the Denver has other means of delivering relief supplies ashore.

"[We have] the ability to transport using our embarked landing craft," said Fenton. "We can move vehicles, people, stores, supplies as needed for the relief of those suffering in Indonesia."

USS Denver crew members are anxious to put their skills to use in a meaningful way to help people in a time of need.

"It feels good doing something worthwhile like this," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Daniel Stevens. "This is why I joined the Navy."

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