7th Fleet Relief Support Update, March 14
PACIFIC OCEAN (March 14, 2011) - The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, to include the cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), and the combat support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10), along with the guided-missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) continue operations off the east coast of Honshu. An additional destroyer, USS Mustin (DDG 89), is at sea south of the disaster site.
7th Fleet repositioned its ships and aircraft away from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant yesterday after detecting low level contamination in the air and on its aircraft operating in the area. As a precautionary measure, U.S. 7th Fleet ships conducting disaster response operations in the area moved out of the downwind direction from the site. Relief operations have since resumed north of Sendai. We will watch the winds closely in the coming days and move our ships and aircraft as necessary to avoid the windline from Fukushima.
Air operations today included 10 helicopters from Naval Air Facility Atsugi and USS Ronald Reagan identifying several groups of people in need of assistance in the vicinity of Minato, and delivering water, blankets and food. Additional helicopters conducted surveys of the at-sea debris field, and conducted search and rescue missions along the coastline.
USS Tortuga (LSD 46) with two heavy-lift MH-53 helicopters embarked, is steaming towards Tomokomai on the eastern coast of Hokkaido, where it will arrive tomorrow. There it will onload about 300 Japan Ground Self Defense Force personnel, and 90 vehicles, and deliver them to Aomori, on the northern end of Honshu.
USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS Essex (LHD 2), with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) are transiting to the area from Southeast Asia. They are expected to begin arriving March 16.
U.S. Navy P-3 "Orion" aircraft from VP-4 in Kadena AFB, Okinawa, flew two missions to survey and assess the debris field at sea.
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