In Wake of Ike, Nassau’s Crew Delivers Supplies, Hope

September 28, 2008


By Lauren King

The Virginian-Pilot


When Seaman Daniel Miles first flew into Galveston, Texas, from his ship a week ago, he didn’t see the damage from Hurricane Ike that was depicted in news reports.

“Up top, everything looked OK,” he said Saturday, upon returning to Norfolk Naval Station. “Once we got down on the ground, we saw the water damage.”

Miles, and more than 1,000 sailors and Marines aboard the Norfolk- based amphibious assault ship Nassau, soon realized what they saw in reports didn’t come close to the reality of the devastation.

“Pictures show it, but the pictures really don’t do it justice,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Chapman.

Hurricane Ike pushed 12 feet of water across the island, flooding or washing away much of what was in its path.

“It was pretty devastating,” said Capt. Jim Boorujy, the ship’s commanding officer.

Debris covered the streets, some piled on the sides of roads to clear paths for emergency vehicles, Chapman said. There were no electricity, water or sewer services.

Chapman, Miles and Petty Officer 3rd Class Derrick Battle were part of “point of distribution” teams that helped hand out supplies to residents who rode out the storm but had run out of water, food and ice.

During delivery runs into neighborhoods with Texas National Guardsmen, Miles said he was surprised that people were in such good spirits.

“They felt safe because we were out there with them,” he said.

Capt. Rob Lineberry, the commodore of Amphibious Squadron 6, said that when the Nassau arrived in Galveston, he saw a lot of desperation in residents’ eyes.

By the time the sailors left, there was hope.

During the week, the Nassau helped local, state and federal agencies distribute 27,440 ready-to-eat meals, 22,135 cases of water and 44,285 bags of ice. The disaster recovery team cleared 1,075 cubic yards of debris. An average of 188 sailors went ashore to work each day.

Residents who had evacuated in advance of Ike’s landfall were beginning to return to Galveston when the Nassau began its journey home.

Power was starting to be restored, as were sewer and water services.

For Miles and Battle, both from Hampton Roads, the experience was especially eye-opening. Neither had seen a hurricane’s devastation firsthand.

“It helped me realize it could have been me,” Battle said.

Lauren King, (757) 446-2309, lauren.king@pilotonline.com

what sailors did

During the week, the Nassau helped local, state and federal agencies distribute ready-to-eat meals, water and bags of ice. An average of 188 sailors went ashore to work each day.

Originally published by BY LAUREN KING.

(c) 2008 Virginian – Pilot. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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