USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) has been directed to take station off Galveston Island to provide maritime emergency response assistance to citizens affected by Hurricane Ike, which made landfall Sept. 13, and to assist responders supporting local citizens.
Nassau was already at sea conducting routine operations when Hurricane Ike struck the Texas coast. Nassau was first directed south to operate off the Florida coast and then received orders to move into the Gulf of Mexico.
Nassau traveled more than 1,500 nautical miles in three days, stopping only to bring members of Amphibious Squadron 6 and Tactical Air Control Squadron 21 on board with the help of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28.
"Like most Navy ships, the crew of the Nassau is constantly training for various missions, and doing disaster relief is something we think about a lot and plays on the various skills of an amphibious warfare ship," said Nassau Commanding Officer Capt. James R. Boorujy.
"We do a lot of flight operations, we do a lot of boat operations, and those are the kinds of things that we need to do to assist our fellow countrymen with disaster relief."
Because of the extensive and continuous training the Nassau crew has received, the ship quickly and efficiently integrated new support elements while in transit and completed the trip at best speed to the Gulf Coast. She maintained readiness at sea in order to quickly respond if called upon by civil authorities.
"We work great with the amphibious squadron and embarked detachments," said Boorujy. "That's a core capability of amphibious ships, we do that all the time. We have a boat detachment, landing craft, helicopter detachment, and we frequently have them aboard.
"We work very closely with the commodore. We have several meetings a day with him. He is in frequent communication with Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet; they know exactly what we're ready to do. We're ready for this mission, and if we're needed we're ready to go in as soon as possible."
Nassau brings with her diverse assets and capabilities, including two MH-60S Nighthawk search and rescue helicopters, four landing craft utility, a beachmaster unit, a disaster relief team, a fleet surgical team, and a significant amount of water, food and other emergency relief supplies. She is also equipped with a 300-bed hospital, four medical operating rooms and three dental operating rooms.
For more news from USS Nassau, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4/.