Amphibious warships USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) and USS Oak Hill (LSD-51) are set to set sail on Thursday under orders Wednesday from Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, to provide humanitarian aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Both ships are sailing from Virginia to the Texas and Louisiana gulf coast tomorrow. Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will depart aboard Kearsarge when it sails from Naval Station Norfolk and Oak Hill is departing from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, according to a Navy statement.
“State and local agencies are in the lead for this response effort. We recognize recovery from this catastrophic disaster will be a long-term effort,” the statement said.
“We are leaning forward to fully support FEMA and Texas with DoD assistance as requested.”
The ships will be in position to provide medical support, maritime security, medium and heavy lift air support, and can assist in the delivery and distribution of disaster recovery supplies. Amphibious and dock landing ships were used for similar missions 12 years ago after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
The Navy has also deployed helicopters to the region to assist in rescue operations. Operating from Fort Worth, aircraft and crew the Dusty Dogs and Ghostriders of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadrons (HSC) 7 and 28 (respectively) operated six MH-60S Knighthawk helicopters and evacuated 227 residents in peril on Tuesday.
The following is the complete Aug. 30, 2017 statement from U.S. Fleet Forces.
USS Kearsarge and USS Oak Hill Set Sail to Support Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Adm. Phil Davidson, has ordered the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) to get underway from their Norfolk, Va. homeports to support federal, state and local authorities ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Kearsarge along with Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will depart Naval Station Norfolk on Thursday, Aug. 31. Oak Hill will depart from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
These ships are capable of providing medical support, maritime civil affairs, maritime security, expeditionary logistic support, medium and heavy lift air support, and bring a diverse capability including assessment and security.
State and local agencies are in the lead for this response effort. We recognize recovery from this catastrophic disaster will be a long-term effort. We are leaning forward to fully support FEMA and Texas with DoD assistance as requested.