USS CARTER HALL, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) arrived in Haiti Jan. 18 to provide equipment, supplies and personnel from the ship to the beach and the Haitian people in support of Operation Unified Response.
Deck department Sailors are responsible for getting the much-needed aid off the ship in a timely and safe manner, utilizing Landing Craft Unit (LCU), Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), helicopters or small boats.
"My Deck department is by far the best in the fleet. I'm extremely proud of the Deck department," said Carter Hall Commanding Officer, Cmdr. George Doyon. "They are the Sailors I depend on to make sure Carter Hall accomplishes its mission. They are dedicated and motivated. I ask a lot from them every time the ship leaves the pier, and they exceed my expectations every time."
That job has never been more important than it is now, in the wake of the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti Jan. 12. The Navy has deployed 11 ships and more than 8,000 Sailors in response to support the delivery of aid. Carter Hall is one of the ships at the forefront of this operation.
"Every day is different," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) Kyle R. Luna, Deck department leading petty officer. "We never know what we're going to do - flight operations, stern gate marriages, VERTREPs (vertical replenishment) - we never know. There is really no need for a plan of the day. Whenever they need something on the beach or have to send something here, our department is ready to go."
"Every time we launch an LCU it feels good," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Qualls. "Because I know it's going to help some people. It's going to brighten their day. We're saving lives and I'm proud of that."
It's been non-stop deck operations since Carter Hall arrived on station.
"My Sailors put in some long hours," said Luna, "but I haven't heard one complaint. I believe that's because they know why we're here. That's why they want to get the job done. They want to do what they have to do to support."
"Everybody's tired and everybody would like a break," added Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Terrance Hobbs, 2nd division leading petty officer. "But we have a mission at hand and we've been tasked with completing that mission."
Carter Hall is supporting Operation Unified Response as part of the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission. Carter Hall, along with amphibious dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), is participating in Operation Unified Response, providing military support capabilities to civilian authorities, stabilizing and improving the situation in Haiti.
For more news from USS Carter Hall, visit www.navy.mil/local/lsd50/.