NEW ORLEANS (NNS) -- USS Iwo Jima's (LHD 7) Damage Control (DC) team has joined relief and recovery efforts in New Orleans, providing much-needed dewatering capabilities to the city's medical facilities.
Armed with two of the ship's P-100 and four electric submersible pumps, Iwo's DCs have already removed 40,000 gallons of water from the flooded basement of the Medical Center of Louisiana's Charity Hospital downtown.
"The waterline was almost at the top of the basement when they began dewatering," said Charity Hospital Staff Member Dr. Jeff Johnson. "I am amazed at how fast they've been able to remove so much water. I didn't expect this much progress for months. Amazing."
"I couldn't be prouder of these guys," said Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) Fred Clemmons. "[Our Sailors] have the talent, desire and motivation to get this job done."
The dewatering team will work through the night, Clemmons added, removing water from the hospital at a rate of 1,900 gallons per minute. The hospital's basement is expected to be completely drained by Sept. 14.
"It feels good to be able to do something to help out," said Hull Technician Fireman Zachary Robinson. The McDonough, Ga., native explained that it's satisfying to utilize his Navy training for such projects. "I'm glad to have this chance to come off the ship and really make a difference out here."
"It's tough work, but we're all willing to put in the effort," said Hull Technician 2nd Class (SW) Christopher Gray. "We have the tools on hand to help dewater this hospital - we're all motivated to take this on."
Iwo's DC team is also looking to assist dewatering efforts at the city's Baptist Memorial Hospital and other city facilities.
Iwo departed Norfolk August 31 to join relief and recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
LHD 7 and the Amphibious Transport Dock USS Shreveport (LPD 12) as well as the Dock Landing Ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and the Rescue and Salvage Ship USS Grapple (ARS 53) - both based at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek, Va., joined the Norfolk-based USS Bataan (LHD 5) and began providing relief assistance immediately following the hurricane.
Navy support elements from Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2 and Beach Master Unit (BMU) 2, also based at NAB Little Creek, established footholds in Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., Sept. 4, immediately increasing relief efforts there.
For related news, visit the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/lhd7/.
For the latest Navy news on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/hurricane/.