ABOARD USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- In response to one of the worst natural disasters in modern history, multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (BHR) (LHD 6) and her embarked logisticians of Expeditionary Strike Group 5 and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) (Special Operations Capable) formed a Logistics Operations Command Center (LOCC).
The purpose of the LOCC is to coordinate, collaborate and orchestrate the logistical support required to mitigate the suffering of the tsunami victims.
According to BHR's Supply Officer, Cmdr. Randy W. Moore, during LOCC meetings, logisticians work together to assess the requirements for this large-scale humanitarian operation and find the most efficient way to meet them.
"The sum is greater than the whole of its parts. That's why we set up the LOCC," Moore said. "We're here to solve problems and ensure the details are handled correctly."
The LOCC is comprised of ESG 5, the 15th MEU and BHR's logistics professionals, as well as BHR's medical and dental department leaders. Their nightly 9 p.m. meetings focus on the critical logistics issues faced by the ship and her embarked commands. From the LOCC, they pool their resources and work with other logistics professionals throughout the region to get the supplies and support needed.
Lt. Cmdr. Sara Saltzstein, BHR's senior medical officer, also attends the nightly meetings.
"We will be prepared to provide medical care to relieve suffering and sustain life along with any other missions as assigned," said Saltzstein, adding that BHR's medical department is ordering the necessary supplies to prepare Sailors and Marines to face a variety of different medical issues associated with humanitarian operations. "Everything from infectious diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and dysentery; to sanitation crises, such as contaminated food and water sources; to mental health challenges such as seeing a body or a sick child."
Moore said that the LOCC is an acknowledgement of how important teamwork is to mission accomplishment.
"You cannot assume requirements and logistics away - that it'll just magically be there," said Moore. "It takes a team of professionals like the ones we have on this ship and those supporting us across the Pacific to bring this all together."
Bonhomme Richard is currently conducting humanitarian assistance operations off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
For related news on Navy tsunami relief operations, visit the Focus on Tsunami Relief Operations page at www.navy.mil/local/tsunami.
For related news, visit the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/lhd6.