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Homeland Security

USS McCampbell Heads to Indonesia for Humanitarian Mission

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091008-08
Release Date: 10/8/2009 6:40:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Byron C. Linder, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Detachment Japan

USS MCCAMPBELL, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) began transiting from Hong Kong to Padang, Indonesia, Oct. 3 at the request of the Indonesian government, to assist in humanitarian efforts in Sumatra following two earthquakes.

After finishing a scheduled port visit to Hong Kong, McCampbell was called to join the amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) to provide helicopter support and deliver relief supplies to remote areas of Sumatra affected by the disasters.

McCampbell's embarked helicopter detachment, the "Warlords" of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51 Detachment 5, is preparing to support the disaster relief effort during the ship's transit.

"Right now, we are preparing to provide support with cargo transportation when we get there. Our aircraft is full of equipment right now, and we are going to take some things out so we can load up the helos with as much cargo as possible," said Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic Chatchai Kampitak, HSL 51's maintenance manager. "We are preparing our aircraft now to make sure everything is up to support whatever missions will be called for and to support the flight schedule."

McCampbell's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Charles Johnson expressed his appreciation for the McCampbell crew's support of the disaster relief effort.

"We will be able to have a very positive effect," said Johnson. "During the transit, we've asked for departments to get a list of volunteers who want to go ashore and provide assistance, and the crew's response has been tremendous. We were anchored off the coast of Bitung less than two months ago to celebrate the sixty-fourth anniversary of Indonesia's independence, and participated in the Indonesia International Fleet Review. Our experience there was incredibly positive. The memories and friendships we made in Indonesia are still fresh in all our minds, and we are honored to come back to provide all the assistance we can in their time of need."

USS McCampbell is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and patrols the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility conducting routine operations. Operating in the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, covering 48 million square miles, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any time.

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