NORFOLK (NNS) -- Adm. J. C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF), provided an overview of the Navy's contributions to the Haiti relief effort during a press conference at Naval Station Norfolk Jan. 19.
Harvey outlined the broad range of Navy assets and personnel assisting in humanitarian assistance mission, and highlighted how the fleet is supporting the international relief effort.
"We've had a tremendous first response from our ships and our aircraft across the fleet," Harvey said. "We're going to sustain that response as long as it takes to get the mission done."
More than 10,000 Sailors and Marines are currently involved in the Haiti humanitarian relief effort. A total of approximately 17 ships, 48 helicopters and 12 fixed-wing aircraft are engaged in delivering relief supplies for distribution to affected areas.
The hospital ship Comfort is expected to arrive in Haiti Jan. 20, and will essentially provide all the assets and services of Portsmouth Naval Hospital at sea.
"We're expanding Comfort's operating capacity to the limit, and anticipate they'll be filled and working," he said.
"A lot of these Sailors left on extremely short notice," said Harvey, "not just in the Bataan amphibious ready group but across the board. We had pilots who had 30 minutes to pack a bag, get down to their squadron, brief the flight, and get that helo on board Vinson. That is pretty typical of the kind of response we've seen.
"USS Bataan was on a 96-hour notice for preparation to get underway. They got underway in 48 hours from a dead cold start," he said. "That's our Sailors doing what they know best."
Harvey highlighted another group that has been equally impacted by the short-notice deployments.
"Our Navy families are in this just as much as our Sailors are," Harvey said. "There are a lot of uncertainties right now and part of my job is to try to get to those uncertainties -- let them know what the long-term plan is going to be. This is an all Navy effort, and we are all responding to this crisis."
Families and others wanting to follow the progress of Navy units participating in the relief effort can do so at www.cffc.navy.mil. Additionally, many of the deployed units have updated information available on their social media web pages such as Facebook and Twitter.
This short-notice deployment is the beginning of what is expected to be an extended and in-depth mission for Sailors and Marines to assist the people of earthquake ravaged Haiti.
"It is the hard core reality of our Navy that we truly are that 'global force for good'," Harvey said. "You're seeing it play out in real time right now."
For more news from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/clf/.