The USS Iwo Jima deployed July 19th, 2010 for Operation Continuing Promise, an annual humanitarian operation that provides health care and other relief services to communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. This is a mission tailored to save lives, reduce human suffering and capitalize on training opportunities in Central and South America.
|Rob Phillips & Commander Lewis Preddy
|Clean the World’s Media Director, Jeremy Chambers, and Rob Phillips NGO Relationship Director caught up with the Iwo Jima at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville on July 17th, where final preparations for the humanitarian mission were underway. They were met by CDR Preddy, who has been working diligently with Clean the World and AeroBridge Executive Director Maryanne Stevenson. Phillips and Stevenson spearheaded an effort to collect over 100 pallets of soap, disinfectant, medical supplies, dental supplies, tents, tarps and 48 pallets of Gatorade. Clean the World, with a generous donation from Marietta Corporation, is sending over 50,000 bars of soap to distribute during the deployment. Special thanks to Haiti-supply relief experts at Compassion Alliance in Ocala, Florida and all of the compassionate organizations that sent supplies from across the U.S., much of it moved on short notice by our good friends at Eagle Freight, LLC., who without hesitation, jumped into the mission!
The last of the supplies, as well as several hundred additional pallets of goods donated by more than 30 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), were loaded at the port of Miami before proceeding on the first leg of the mission in Port de Paix, Haiti. In Miami, Phillips, Stevenson and Chambers met up with the Iwo Jima to bid Bon Voyage to the cargo, the crew and the wide-eyed NGO volunteers who are going aboard for the 120 day mission.
Continuing Promise 2010, will include humanitarian and civic assistance activities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama and Suriname, and will be supported by a crew of approximately 1,600 military and civilian medical, engineering, aviation, logistical and other support personnel.
The military and civilian medical team aboard Iwo Jima will provide general surgical, primary and consultative care; ophthalmologic services; optometric services; preventative and environmental health; dental screenings and treatment; public health training; and veterinary services. The team will work alongside medical personnel and NGOs from each of the countries during the deployment.
|USS Iwo Jima
U.S. Navy engineers, known as Seabees, will conduct building repairs and improvements, small construction projects, utility system repairs and other engineering assistance projects for local communities during the mission. Approximately 500 Marines will provide aviation, ground and logistical support to the mission and conduct subject-matter-expert exchanges on various medical and engineering topics.
Large amphibious ships, like the 844 foot, 41,000 ton Iwo Jima, resemble small aircraft carriers and include the ability to rapidly move personnel and cargo by helicopter and landing craft, making it an ideal platform to support humanitarian relief missions on short notice. Iwo Jima will operate in the Caribbean basin, an area with a history of severe weather events during the peak months of the hurricane season.
The crew of the Iwo Jima will be joined during the mission by medical, dental and engineering professionals from Canada, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands and Paraguay.
This is the fifth such deployment to the region since 2007. Continuing Promise crews have treated more than 265,000 patients during previous missions