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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Navy helping out with Katrina victims

Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 11:47 PM
Hi everybody,
Here is a great story of just some of what all the Navy is doing to help out with Katrina victims. You won't see any of this on the Communist News Network (CNN) or liberal AP outlets though. Please share with anybody who seems to think the military isn't doing more than anybody else. There is a reason that President Bush said that the Military is doing more (and more capable of doing) things to help out the victims. enjoy. Fair winds and Following Seas to all.
September 19, 2005Navy gives battered Biloxi food, medical careBy William H. McMichaelTimes staff writer
BILOXI, Miss. — It’s 5 p.m., and a long line of hungry local residents seems to perk up at the scent of fresh tomato sauce and garlic bread wafting from the school cafeteria’s serving line.
“Where are those good greens?” one woman asks one of the sailors serving the food. “Right over here, ma’am,” the sailor replies, motioning to the salad bar on his right.
The first post-Hurricane Katrina food served at the impromptu shelter here at the spanking new Biloxi High School, located on the city’s north side, was a hot dog on a slice of white bread that was prepared by local residents. Then, the Red Cross tried to fill the food needs for a couple of days.
“And now, the Navy has just saved our butt,” said Bill Vandreuil of Greenwood, S.C., a retired lieutenant commander and Red Cross volunteer.
On Sept. 9, four days after arriving off the Biloxi coast, some of the 50 sailors who’d come ashore from the amphibious assault ship Bataan were cooking two hot meals a day — about 550 were served Sept. 9 — for Biloxi residents, many of whom were now homeless and living in shelters after their homes were destroyed by Katrina. Navy people were taking turns and sometimes working alongside sailors from the dock landing ship Whidbey Island; the teamwork, Vandreuil said, was “really remarkable.”
Most of the sailors, who also handed out MREs for lunch, aren’t even cooks.
“It feels good,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class (AW) Nytricia Francis. “I went through a hurricane [Andrew] myself. To actually do it, to help,” she said, smiling broadly, “it’s a good experience.”
“As long as I see kids smilin’, I’m happy,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Terrance L. Mounger.
About 120 sailors from the Whidbey Island had also joined the effort and, along with sailors from the Bataan and the Dutch frigate HNLMS Van Arnstel, were helping Federal Emergency Management Agency and Red Cross officials all over the city.
“They were incredible!” said Smoky Gibson, youth pastor for the First Baptist Church of Biloxi, the site of a huge relief center that combined church and civil efforts down the road from the high school. “Just tireless. I don’t think we asked them to do one thing. We had guys loading stuff, getting people where they needed to be. Some were out there directing traffic.”
Some of that “stuff,” as well as support equipment for Marines assisting federal officials, came ashore on air-cushioned and standard landing craft that landed on the Biloxi beach near the city’s wrecked casino district. That was the only suitable spot they could find. “Everything else was fouled,” said Capt. Nora Tyson, the Bataan’s commanding officer.
Medical care started
Under an overhang near the high school serving line, Navy medical teams provided free inoculations. Inside one of the classrooms, limited emergency care was available.
“I feel privileged to actually come down and do this,” said Hospitalman Seaman Kyle Tucker, out of Jacksonville Naval Air Station, after giving a tetanus shot to local resident Michael Poole. The medics had administered 389 shots over the previous two days.
The Bataan had just finished a training exercise near the Panama Canal and was moored in Ingleside, Texas, when the word came down to get underway for the relief effort. All the ships and crews involved came on short notice, a fact that Tyson said underlines the success of the Navy’s post-Sept. 11 ability to maintain a higher state of readiness.
“They know there’s a reason for what we do, whether it’s the global war on terrorism or humanitarian relief,” Tyson said. “If you’re not flexible and you’re not ready, you’re in the wrong business.”
v/r, and r/
Robert Rogers


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