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Thank you US Military!!!

Discussion in 'Politics & World News' started by N8 v2.0, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    I know this guy ain't no Sean Penn, but what the heck... he's not in New Orleans on a photo-op either... :rolleyes:




    Ship's Homepage: http://www.iwo-jima.navy.mil/

    -----Original Message-----
    From: XXXXXXXX.XXXXXXX
    Sent: Friday, September 09, 2005 19:42
    To: XXXXX
    Subject: USS IWO Jima



    Subject: IWO Update - 5 Sep (II)

    Hello All;

    Another incredibly busy 24 hours since I last wrote. We raced down from the coast of Biloxi and Gulfport and arrived at the entrance of the Mississippi River before daylight. After conducting some helicopter operations and picking up the first of two river Pilots, we turned north and started our 9 hour transit up the Mississippi to New Orleans, a distance of about 100 miles. At first we did not see much damage, the low flat delta is primarily wet lands, though virtually all the navigation aids were gone. But as we got further north, the destruction became overwhelming. We sailed passed broken levees and flooded town, smashed buildings, plywood houses stripped bare of shingles and siding, boats and barges - some 200 feet in length - stranded high and dry 20 to 30 feet above the water level on some berm, sail and pleasure boats piled 30-40 feet high in the middle of some woods, sunken or partially submerged barges, huge oil tanks crumpled and smash with oil leaking into the river. At one point, both sides of the river were covered with miles of stranded river barges. River traffic today was only about 10 percent of normal capacity, though the roadstead was filled - literally packed - with oil tankers waiting their turn to sail up river to offload their crude oil. After a while you become anesthetized to the carnage, only to be hit by some new and strange sight - a herd of black cows roaming free on some small island (how on earth did they get there? How did they escape the 20 foot tidal surge?). At times we had to watch our speed so as to not create too large a wake that might disturb relief operations or a delicate levee on the verge of splitting. After about 8 and a half hours of twists and turns, we pulled into New Orleans. On one embankment, the whole pier was still smoldering from days of fires. Most of the buildings had shattered and broken windows. There must have been 20-30 helicopters, civilian and military, buzzing around the skyline, giving the impression of a combat zone.

    With much difficulty, I spun the ship around just beneath the bridge (with the help of four tugs) and moored along the River Walk pier where luxury liners normally moor. The city is just as it is portrayed in the news - broken. The mayor of New Orleans estimates that the death toll could be as high as 10,000 from the Hurricane and the violence in its aftermath. The mayor is currently onboard in the cabin across the passageway. He and his staff were grateful for hot food, a hot shower, some clean clothes, and a comfortable and safe bed. We are opening our doors to many other civil workers who have been battling the challenges of reclaiming the city over the past week. We have 140 National Guardsmen (from RI, no less) coming onboard tomorrow morning for hot showers and a hot breakfast before the return to their patrols. They had the grim work of clearing out the convention center a few days ago.

    Since 0500 this morning, we have been launching and recovering aircraft, even during the transit up the river. I finally had to stop flight operations as we approached the pier so I could concentrate on mooring the ship. We have had three Admirals, one General (LGEN Honore - the Joint Task Force Commander), and the mayor and all their respective staffers onboard at some point today. Ann Coury of the TODAY SHOW plus members from three other networks flew onboard this morning and rode us up the river. I'm slated to be on the TODAY SHOW live at 0713 (Eastern Time) Tuesday from the flight deck of USS IWO JIMA.

    All along the way up the Mississippi, we passed outbound merchant ships.

    Some rendered honors or dipped their flags as we passed. Every single river Pilot called over to us to pass along their thanks for our impending arrival in New Orleans. Our pilot, who lost his home in the Hurricane, had tears in his eyes when he thanked us all for coming up river. IWO JIMA has arrived in New Orleans. We are all grateful to be here and hope to make a difference.

    All the best,

    Richard

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Hello All;

    Since I took over IWO JIMA over a year ago, I felt as though I had control of the destiny of the ship. I thought I lost it today, the first time ever, and that we were merely reacting to events rather than controlling them.

    Within the first 24 hours after arriving pierside in New Orleans, IWO JIMA has become many things. We are one of the few full service airports in the area and have been operating aircraft on and off our deck for almost 15 hours each day. We are also one of the only air conditioned facilities within a ten mile radius and though we have had problems making water from the polluted Mississippi, we are also the only hot shower within miles. All day long we have been accommodating local policemen, firemen, state troopers, national guard, 82nd Airborne division personnel with hot showers and hot food. I met an ambulance team from Minnesota who just drove straight to New Orleans when they heard of the tragedy and have been supporting hospitals free of charge for the last week. They hadn't had a hot meal in over a week and were grateful to have the opportunity to have lunch onboard. The Deputy Commander of the RI National Guard reported to me that he had guardsmen who were whipped, but after a hot shower and an IWO JIMA breakfast were ready to hit the patrols again. Rarely have I seen so many smiling, happy faces than on these people. After two weeks in the trenches sleeping on concrete floors, no shower, and eating MREs, good ship IWO JIMA has been a Godsend. I had an opportunity to talk to the Director of Homeland Security for a few minutes in my cabin. I asked him if there was anything more I could do for him, he asked if he could get a shower. I was glad to turnover my cabin to him. The local FEMA coordinator and his logistics and security teams were on my quarterdeck this afternoon asking permission to set up their command center on the pier next to the ship.
    While they had sophisticated command and control equipment, they had no place to berth their 250 FEMA members. We were glad to give them a home.
    Contrary to the press, all the FEMA people I met had been on station since last Sunday (before the Hurricane hit), never left the area, and have been in the field ever since. The command duty officer was told that one state trooper had driven 80 miles to get to the ship. He said that the word was
    out: Come to IWO JIMA. We expect that the flood gates will open on us.

    Early this morning we received our first medical emergency: an elderly woman with stroke-like symptoms. Throughout the day we received about a dozen medical emergencies, the most serious was an elderly man who was stabbed in the chest and was bleeding to death. The doctors performed surgery on him and saved his life. I toured the hospital ward; all our charges were elderly and disadvantaged individuals. As with Hotel IWO JIMA, we expect to see many more casualties tomorrow.

    Our curse appears to be our flight deck and our extraordinary command and control capabilities. Our challenge today was the tidal wave of Flag and General Officers that flooded onboard, 17 total, virtually all without notice. I couldn't believe there were so many involved in this effort and they all wanted to come here. They poured onto the flight deck in one helicopter after another in order to meet with General Honore, the Joint Task Force Commander. The majority showed up around the same time and all wanted to leave at the same time, making it a nightmare for our flight deck team to control and coordinate flights on and off the ship for all these admirals and generals while supporting the humanitarian effort. I spent most of the day running around the ship getting these people off and on helicopters and in and out of the meetings and command spaces. It was like herding cats. But the ship performed superbly and "flexed" to meet the challenge. Regretfully, we expect nearly 20 admirals and generals onboard tomorrow for more meetings. To add to the challenges, virtually all of these commands are sending liaison staffs to help coordinate issues, and already a number of admirals and generals have "permanently" embarked. The Inn is full.

    I talked to one of the FEMA team members who had also worked the disaster relief for 9/11. I asked him how much more difficult was the Katrina relief effort compared to 9/11. He said it was without measure: thousand of times worse than 9/11. He couldn't articulate the magnitude of the destruction.

    Despite all the challenges, I think we regained control by the end of the day. We are forearmed for tomorrow's onslaught. At our evening Dept Head meeting, I asked all my principals to tell me what the stupidest thing they heard or saw today. The list was enormous. But the most absurd item was when my Tactical Action Officer, who runs our 24 hour command center (CIC) got a phone call from the Director of the New Orleans Zoo. Apparently, there was a large fire near the zoo. It was so intense that the fire department had to abandon the cause, but military helos were heavily engaged in scooping up giant buckets of water and dumping in on the blaze in an effort to put it out. The director complained to us that the noise from the helos was disturbing the animals, especially the elephants, which he was most concerned about, and asked us to stop. The TAO thanked him for his interest in national defense.

    It is inspiring to meet and talk to such a huge number of individuals who are doing the Lord's work to recover this city. They have had little sleep, little food, no showers, working 16-18 hours a day, and in some cases no pay, and they are thanking ME for a hot meal! Only in America. We have turned the corner. It will take an awful long time, but we have turned the corner.

    All the best,

    RSC
     

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  2. Slugman

    Slugman Frankenbike

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    He's also not their on his own dime and of his own will... unless the military now allows it's people to buy and run their own naval ship - and make their own decision about where and when they are deployed

    Too bad... it would have been a really good read if you had not thrown your riechwinged slant at the beginning.