USS KEARSARGE, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), as well as elements of Amphibious Squadron 8 and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC) arrived off the coast of Bangladesh Nov. 23 to support ongoing disaster relief operations.
At the request of the Government of Bangladesh, Kearsarge and 22nd MEU (SOC) are coordinating with government officials, military leaders and international aid organizations to determine how best to focus the added capabilities of the U.S. naval forces against relief efforts.
"The suffering caused by this storm is devastating," said Rear Adm. Carol M. Pottenger, Commander Task Force 76, embarked aboard Kearsarge. "We are here to bring help and hope to those in need and aid the people of Bangladesh during this difficult time."
Tropical Cyclone Sidr slammed into the Bangladesh coast Nov. 15, with winds in excess of 156 miles per hour, killing thousands and leaving several hundred thousand homeless.
"The government of Bangladesh and various international aid organizations have a robust capability already in place and we will support their efforts as requested," said Pottenger. "Our forces are highly flexible and poised to help however we can."
The Norfolk-based ship's embarked helicopters and landing craft air cushion can deliver food, medicine and thousands of gallons of fresh water ashore, helping to save lives, lessen suffering, and aid in preventing the onset of tropical cyclone-related medical issues.
"We provide a unique mix of capabilities including airlift, logistics support and the ability to support the humanitarian relief efforts already in place," said Col. Doug Stilwell, commanding officer of the 22nd MEU (SOC). "Our goal is to assist the Bangladesh government, Bangladesh military and non-governmental organizations in reducing further loss of life."
Last week, Kearsarge was directed to make best speed towards Bangladesh from the Arabian Sea when it became apparent that the storm was going to make landfall.
Kearsarge is currently on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and departed its home port of Norfolk, Va., July 30.
For more news from USS Kearsarge, visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd3/.