By Jite Erabie
The U.S. Navy is sending two ships to the Gulf of Mexico to support federal, state and local authorities with the on-going relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Adm. Phil Davidson, has ordered the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) to get underway from their homeports in Norfolk, Virginia.
Kearsarge, along with Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, will depart Naval Station Norfolk on Thursday, Aug. 31. Oak Hill will depart from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
The ships are capable of providing medical support, maritime civil affairs, maritime security, expeditionary logistic support, medium and heavy lift air support, and bring a diverse capability including assessment and security, according to the Navy.
“State and local agencies are in the lead for this response effort,” the Navy said. “We recognize recovery from this catastrophic disaster will be a long-term effort. We are leaning forward to fully support FEMA and Texas with DoD assistance as requested.”
The Navy and Air Force joined the U.S. Coast Guard in conducting helicopter rescues on Wednesday, joining other federal, state and local agencies in the relief efforts after Harvey dumped feet of rain in just a matter of days and caused catastrophic flooding throughout Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has activated the entire Texas National Guard, which is made up of roughly 12,000 troops.
Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Navy sent three amphibious ships and a rescue and salvage ship to support relief efforts.
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