Monday, January 18, 2010

USS Normandy Arrives off Coast of Port-Au-Prince

USS NORMANDY, At Sea (NNS) -- The cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) arrived off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti Jan. 17 to support Operation Unified Response, the joint U.S. military relief effort for earthquake victims.

Normandy, homeported in Norfolk, Va., will support relief efforts by providing air surveillance for the heavy air traffic in the area. The ship will also act as a ready deck, or an at sea platform able to accept helicopters on deck and provide refueling services.

Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 46, from Mayport, Fla., has two SH-60B helicopters on board Normandy and will also contribute to the relief efforts with additional airlift support.

As the Navy component command of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), Naval Forces Southern Command's mission is to direct U.S. Naval forces operating in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions and interact with partner nations navies within the maritime environment. Routine operations include counter-illicit trafficking, theater security cooperation, military-to-military interaction and bilateral and multinational training.

SOUTHCOM is well-versed in providing humanitarian assistance to the region. Since 2005, the command has led U.S. military support to 14 major relief missions, including assistance to Haiti in September 2008. During that mission, U.S. military forces airlifted 3.3 million pounds of aid to communities that were devastated by a succession of major storms.