GALVESTON, Texas (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Nassau (LHA 4) based out of Norfolk, Va., and Seabee Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 (ACB 2), based out of Little Creek, Va., had the opportunity to help the Galveston community after Hurricane Ike devastated the area in mid-September.
The ship sent more than 50 Sailors to the Lone Star Flight Museum that was severely damaged after the storm surged nearly 10 feet of water above the floor.
"The only thing that you can tell what it was before the storm hit are the airplanes," said Larry Gregory, president, Lone Star Flight Museum. "Everything else was destroyed - the displays, the gift shop, all the relics of different time periods, the museum maintenance shop. It is really overwhelming."
One Nassau Sailor at the museum described the feeling of the Galveston community as comparable to the feeling he felt after 9/11.
"The country came together, everyone, no matter who you are, what you do, what uniform you wear," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class (SW/AW) Courtney Stratton. "We're all here for the same reason - to help the people of Galveston get back on their feet."
Retired Lt. Cmdr. James Kline, former E2-Hawkeye Navy pilot and long-time flight museum volunteer said the damage hit home in more ways than one.
"It was devastating to see the damage. Everything in that museum was a part of our heritage and many were part of our naval aviation heritage."
"It feels so personal," he added.
Kline also described the pride he felt being a part of the Navy and seeing his fellow service members helping at the museum.
"I feel a wonderful sense of pride seeing the Sailors and Seabees helping us to bring back the museum to what it once was," continued Kline.
Tom Gregory, retired Marine Corps pilot, chief pilot and 16-year volunteer at the flight museum told the public to be patient.
"It will take time, but we will rebuild and continue to show the historic side of aviation to the public again."
Operations Specialist 3rd Class, Jodyann Miller, said she will never forget the feeling she has with helping to restore the museum.
"I am so proud to be a part of this effort today," said Miller. "Hopefully after all the cleaning is done, they can restore the museum to be even better than it once was before the storm."
"I also feel good to be able to help my fellow Americans. That is a great feeling."
For more news from USS Nassau, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4.