Monday, December 1, 2008


Within 24 hours, we will round the final buoy on our transit back to homeport Norfolk, Virginia). From Miami to Norfolk we will have hosted over 230 Tigers (Family Riders); offloaded heavy lift engineering equipment, flew off the USMC Heavy Lift CH-53 aircraft and USN MH-60s, off loaded our landing craft and their tremendous crew, and made final preparations to enter port. By all accounts, the mission has been a success due in part by the coordination between the various agencies but due in a large part by the hard-work and determination of the men and women of our Armed Forces. Their "can-do" spirit have always been the backbone and the cornerstone of our successes and this mission was no different. Noteworthy: under the superb leadership of Captain Walter Towns, the Officers, Chief Petty Officers and crew were the heart beat and driving force of the mighty ship (KEARSARGE) that spirited us throughout the Latin American and Caribbean Region on this humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission. They answered every bell, launched every craft and flew every sortie without accident or incident.

As the Mission Commander, it has been a true honor to serve with the 1,500 outstanding professional men and women of whom I have come to fondly refer to simply as "The TEAM". As we transited through Miami to pick up our family and friends, we had the distinct pleasure of hosting Admiral Stavridis, Commander, United States Southern Command, for a brief period. During his visit, he met with the mission commanders, team and organization leaders, and representatives of the crew; walked the deckplates meeting and greeting our military men and women; and addressed the crew over the internal speaker system. During his address, he highlighted the tremendous success of the mission and its contribution in working with the host nations and partner nations, joint services, non government and interagency organizations in enhancing regional stability, security, and prosperity within his Area of Focus.

From 6 August to 2 December 2008, our "TEAM" consistently demonstrated unparalleled success executing humanitarian civic assistance operations and theater security cooperation during CONTINUING PROMISE 2008 Caribbean deployment. Their efforts in conducting veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support to six partner nations, sent a strong message of compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean. During the deployment our medical teams treated more than 47,000 patients, dispensed more than 81,300 prescriptions, treated nearly 5,600 animals, provided more than 198,600 medical, dental and optometric services, and flew 188 patients to USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3) for surgeries. Our engineers conducted 24 construction and renovation projects, improving the lives and displaying our support and promise of hope to our friends and partner nations in the region. On short notice, we conducted disaster relief operations in Haiti following four tropical storms that struck the nation in less than a month. Our support to the Haitian people saved numerous lives during a precarious situation by delivering more than 3.3 million pounds of essential relief supplies.

The success of the mission fostered the trust and confidence of our partner nations in the pledge to improve lives throughout the U.S. Southern Command Area of Focus and highlighted the U.S. commitment to further security, stability, and prosperity in the Americas. It was a great call to duty and the "TEAM" answered the call and performed with exemplary results. We close the book on this deployment with the confidence that follow-on missions will "CONTINUE THE PROMISE" of working with our partners, our neighbors and our friends in this Area of Focus.


Buck said...

Congratulations, and well done! I hope your sailors will have Christmas off!

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