USS CARTER HALL, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Carter Hall's (LSD 50) Main Propulsion Division (M-Div) has suported Operation Unified Response since the ship deployed Jan. 14, and they are determining factor in the ship's ability to bring humanitarian aid and assistance to earthquake victims in Haiti.
M-Div is responsible for the ship's propulsion system - the main engines, diesel generators, evaporators and all auxiliary equipment that keeps the ship running.
"The Sailors in M-Division often get overlooked, but we cannot accomplish our mission without them," said Cmdr. George Doyon, Carter Hall commanding officer. "Without them we would not be here delivering aid right now. It is inspiring to see the commitment and dedication they have to the Navy, Carter Hall and the people of Haiti."
Carter Hall was in the middle of a maintenance availability period when they received deployment orders for Haiti. Sailors had already started depot-level repairs on major equipment, but they put everything back together and had the ship ready to depart in 36 hours, 12 hours sooner than the 48 they had originally been given.
"Number 1 and Number 2 Main Machinery Rooms were in disarray," said Engineman 1st Class (SW) Gerald J. Jarvis III, Starboard Main Propulsion Division leading petty officer. "We had systems torn apart all over the place. The port shaft's line shaft bearings were open-basically you can't get underway without a shaft to turn the screw-and we had an engine that was in pieces, with no parts and no idea how we would get it back together. But we knew our mission was to help these people in Haiti. So we pushed hard and pieced our plant back together."
It took just 26 hours to get both engines back up and running, but it was a total team effort to get the ship underway.
"The entire crew worked through the night so we could get over here," said Engineman 1st Class (SW) Charles Ducree, Portside Main Propulsion Division leading petty officer. "Everybody had a positive attitude and was there to work hard. Contractors and technical assistants came on board with a "can do" attitude. We did everything we could to get the ship underway."
"It was really neat to see everybody come together over the night and roll up their sleeves to get the ship ready to go," added Engineman 3rd Class Joe Tips, #1 Main Machinery Room engine operator.
Although Haiti is slowly starting to recover, Haitians are still in need of help.
"There are people out there who need help," said Ducree. "It gives us a sense of purpose to know that the things we do on a daily basis are helping other people."
"I'm glad we have the opportunity to help [the Haitian] people," said Engineman 2nd Class David Arias, Number 2 Main Machinery Room engine operator. "Just to be able to say we're here helping, it's a good feeling."
Carter Hall's success throughout Operation Unified Response heavily depends on M-Div's ability to keep the heart beating. This means long hours in the plant, standing watches and conducting maintenance. While a lot of Sailors will have the opportunity to go ashore and distribute food to the Haitian people, M-Div will be on the ship keeping the gears turning, which suits them just fine.
"We're not in it for the fame," added Tips. "We're a bunch of gear heads and we love what we do. We love running this ship."
"One day, all of this will be in the history books," added Jarvis. "I'm proud to be a part of history. To be able to say 'the crew of USS Carter Hall was here helping people in Haiti.' I'm glad to be a part of that."
Carter Hall is part of the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission. The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) is on station in Haiti with the amphibious dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), and Carter Hall supporting Operation Unified Response, a joint humanitarian assistance mission to Haiti following the 7.0 magnitude that devastated the island country.
For more news about relief effort in Haiti, visit www.navy.mil/haiti.
For more news from USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), visit www.navy.mil/local/lsd50/.