Two amphibious ships and a cruiser stand ready for Hurricane Irma relief ops

A landing craft, air cushion enters the well deck of USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) in preparation for potential humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has deployed thee warships to stand ready for possible relief efforts after Hurricane Irma reached Florida on Saturday.

Amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) were sent from Naval Station Norfolk on September 8. They are joined by the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56).

Iwo Jima and New York pulled into Norfolk September 7 after leaving their Mayport, Florida, homeport to embark a component of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, as well as members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22 and Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8.

All units will be under the command of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, Rear Adm. Samuel Paparo.

These ships and their embarked units are capable of providing medical and logistic support, medium and heavy lift air support, and bring a diverse capability for assessing damage and providing crucial aid.

This is the second time in the past year Iwo Jima has conducted this type of mission; last October, Iwo Jima provided support following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

“Many of the crew had similar experiences last year during Hurricane Matthew,” said Capt. James Midkiff, commanding officer of Iwo Jima. “We will apply lessons learned from our time in Haiti to this event in order to be safer and more efficient this time around.”

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