NORFOLK, Va. – Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) will leave their homeports in Norfolk to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas, the U.S. Fleet Forces command announced Wednesday.
“Everywhere I walk, every crew members comes to me and express their concern over the people in the affected area and they just wanna do what they can do to help,” Captain Dave Guluzian said.
Kearsarge, along with Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, will depart Naval Station Norfolk Thursday. Oak Hill will depart from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
“We carry a lot of shallow draft boats and vessel that will allow us to move large bulk, supplies and quantities to a lot of affected areas,” Admiral Jeffrey Hughes explained.
The ships will provide medical support, maritime security and heavy lift air support. State and local agencies are in the lead for this response effort, which will most likely be long-term.
Naval officials told News 3 they will also be able to help restore power, drain water, and clearing roadways.
Hughes said they don’t have any direct orders at the moment but will be ready when needed.
“We have the ability to move supplies and logistics all over the place,” he said.
It’ll be at least three to four weeks before the Marines and Sailors return from their mission.