Navy sends more ships in anticipation of Irma

Navy sends more ships in anticipation of Hurricane Irma

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Help is on the way.

The Navy announced Friday that four more ships have been sent out to render aid to Hurricane Irma victims.

The Amphibious Assault Ship USS Iwo Jima, the amphibious transport dock USS New York, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and the guided missile destroyer USS Farragut were the vessels which were tasked.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Admiral Phil Davidson, ordered the ships to get underway to be in position to provide humanitarian relief  for Hurricane Irma, in of support federal, state and local authorities if requested.

Additionally, the Navy said that the guided missile destroyer USS Farragut  is already underway conducting local operations and has been ordered to join the group.

There are more than 300 Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, aboard  the Iwo Jima and New York.

Aircraft on all four ships include  three CH-53E Marine Heavy Lift Helicopters, 10 MH-60S and 14 MH-60R Navy Medium Lift Helicopters.

The Navy says 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.

The Iwo Jima's commanding officer told us that with his ship being home-based in Florida, this mission is personal to his crew.

"Ttwo years in a row, Matthew was hitting Mayport as we were leaving," said Captain James Midkiff. "That was in our thoughts, makes it a little bit tougher. Same thing this year. We're watching Irma as it come up the coast, coming up the east coast. That directly affects our families."

And the USS Wasp, USS Kearsarge, and USS Oak Hill are already supporting relief operations in the U.S.Virgin Islands.

In  a release, the Navy said its top priority is "to minimize suffering and protecting the lives and safety of those affected by Hurricane Irma."

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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