GALVESTON, Texas (NNS) -- USS Nassau (LHA 4) weighed anchor Sept. 23 to return to her homeport in Norfolk, Va., after a week of supporting local, state and federal civil authorities in Galveston's recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Ike.
Nassau's Sailors and Marines accomplished a variety of disaster relief tasks set out by local officials. They distributed 16,440 meals ready-to-eat; 13,835 cases of water; 25,285 bags of ice; took part in emergency debris removal, clearing 1,075 cubic yards of debris; delivered medical aid for 12 minor medical cases; and assisted in bringing critical infrastructure, such as the Port of Galveston and Scholes International Airport, back on line.
"Our Sailors and Marines were able to come to the aid of their fellow Americans," said Capt. Bob Lineberry, commander, Amphibious Squadron 6. "Disaster relief and humanitarian assistance is a capability that we take around the world, and it was just as important to help our own citizens. We will sail away from here proud of our accomplishments."
Amphibious assault ships like Nassau have unique capabilities and can provide a variety of assets that can support recovery efforts following natural disasters. Nassau brought two MH-60S Knighthawk search and rescue helicopters from the "Dragon Whales" of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 28, Detachment 4; Tactical Air Control Squadron 21; four landing craft utilities from Assault Craft Unit 2; Beachmaster Unit 2; Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 (Seabees); and Fleet Surgical Team 2 to Galveston.
The ship also deployed Galveston Assistance Team - Overhaul Recovery (GATOR) which is a team of more than 300 Sailors from the ship who volunteered to provide additional manpower ashore.
U.S. Fleet Forces directed Nassau Sept. 17 to proceed to Galveston following Hurricane Ike's landfall. U.S. Fleet Forces is the maritime component command of U.S. Northern Command, Department of Defense's lead supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The ship was already underway conducting routine training operations off the coast of Virginia when called upon to prepare for possible disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Ike.
Nassau's mission is to embark, deploy and land a Marine landing force by helicopter, attack aircraft or amphibious vehicle. This multipurpose ship has a highly trained crew and ready capabilities to perform many types of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
For more news from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/clf/.