NORFOLK, Va.—Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerry Melvin, a 1999 graduate of Elizabeth High School, and nearly 1,000 sailors and Marines attached to USS Bataan (LHD 5) recently returned to Norfolk, Va. after 10 weeks, supporting Operation Unified Response in Haiti.
The ship surged from Norfolk on Jan. 14, just 48 hours after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused severe damage to Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Arriving on Jan. 18, Bataan’s crew members immediately began providing disaster relief to the people of Haiti.
Navy and Marine helicopters as well as landing craft air cushions (LCAC), which are vehicles designed for land and sea, transported nearly 1, 000 pallets of relief supplies, medically evacuated 97 patients to Bataan and provided transport for another 524 Haitian patients to and from the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and hospitals throughout Port-au-Prince.
Bataan’s medical team also provided services ashore for approximately 2,000 patients, and delivered the ship’s first baby; 8 lb. 3 oz. “Theo Joe”. As part of their preventive medicine campaign, Bataan also coordinated with the U.S. Public Health Service in immunizing nearly 10,000 people.
Bataan operated primarily off the coast of Grand Goave, Haiti, and conducted “22 Sailors Ashore Missions” (SAM), ultimately removing 150 tons of rubble, building 65 shelters for 130 families and distributing more than 500, 000 meals.
Throughout the relief effort, the Navy and Marine Corps team worked with various U.S. and partner government organizations, independent aid organizations and local Haitian leaders to deliver aid and allow the organizations to return to their pre-earthquake capacities.
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