Friday, November 28, 2008


Greetings family members and readers, as we round the bend and head homeward, you can be sure that we are one and all looking forward, with great anticipation, our reunion with friends and family. It has been a long four months and again you have endured the challenges at home while we executed the mission abroad. We are all acutely aware that our success can only be realized by your hard work, sacrifice and commitment; and that you, once again, stepped up to assume the even greater responsibility of carrying out multiple roles with less resources. We are very aware of the economic situation that exists back home and are preparing to join in with the rest of our fellow Americans to pitch in and do our part to make our Nation’s economy strong again. We thank you for tightening the belts in our absence. We know it has not been easy and that is just one more reason to say thank you.

I hope that you have been following our efforts through our Web site links, including this blog site. They are filled with photos and stories of the tremendous heroics and gestures of kindness and goodwill that were rendered during the mission. As you are aware, we had the fortunate opportunity to be in the right place at the right time during Haiti’s devastating encounter with hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Hannah. Thousands of people perished and were rendered homeless, jobless and in some cases hopeless because of the tremendous destruction and desolation caused by the storms. Our time there was short (19 days) but our impact was significant. We were glad to be able to help, and we are thankful for the opportunity.

Speaking of thankful, another Thanksgiving will find us separated from you. There are lots of preparations going on around the ship to make it as festive as possible, so that everyone can have the taste, if not the touch of Thanksgiving. But as I always say, when out to sea, you establish familial like relationships, unique to seafarers such as ourselves and at the end of the day, the end of our journey, we are banded together as SHIPMATES…protector and enforcer of each other’s safety and well being. We are a rare bunch and doing this over and over takes a rare breed. Just anyone can’t do it and those that do, I consider the chosen few.

For the last days as we head north, we note with a watchful eye slight drops in temperature and climate changes. Someone told us it was winter there and on occasion ice and snow can be seen. That is a phenomenon that we have not experienced for a long time so we will have to dig for layered clothing stuffed deep in our sea bags…It is that time again. For the last two days we have been taking on stores, fuel and transferring other equipment and goods with the USNS ARTIC.

Who are we: 1, 500 men and women
Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, United States Public Health Services, Non Government Organizations (Project Hope, Operation Smile, International Aid), Partner Nations (Brazil, Canada, France, Netherlands) and Host Nations visited
How long were we gone:
118 day deployment
Where did we go:
Visit seven (7) countries (Nicaragua, Colombia, Haiti; Dutch Netherlands; Dominican Republic;; Trinidad and Tobago; Guyana)
What did we do (SOME GOOD!):
Conducted Humanitarian Assistance (good will) in 5 countries
Conducted Disaster Relief in Haiti
Conducted 24 Engineering Projects (building, repairing, restoring facilities)
Conducted 24 Community Relations Events (volunteering, painting,, etc)
Conducted 51 Exchange and Discussion Seminars (medical engineering, naval)
Treated nearly 48,000 patients (optometry, minor surgeries, ophthalmology, etc)
Dispensed over 81,000 medications
Repaired over 180 pieces of medical equipment.
Treated over 5,600 animals (farm, live stock and pets)
Why did we do it: Because it was necessary, and we were able to provide good will to those in need; some direr than others. We were able to help build the trust and confidence of our partner nations to reinforce our commitment to improve the lives of those within the Latin American and Caribbean region.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you for all the updates, especially on the summary of the awesome accomplishments. I enjoyed the notation of preparing for the 'crisp' weather welcoming you into Norfolk...(not as crisp as the temps here in Wisconsin!) May you all have a grand reunion this coming week and a wonderful Christmas. A job well done and you all can be very proud.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful mission! This last post brought a tear to my eye realizing all the wonderful things you did. God Bless you all, and of course...God Bless America! :) Welcome Home!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the wonderful updates! We will be anxiously awaiting the return in the cold at the pier in Norfolk. May you all have a wonderful holiday season! Welcome Home!