Three US Navy amphibious assault and transport ships; the USS Wasp, the USS San Antonio, and the USS New York; are just offshore of New York harbor as of this morning to provide assistance, if needed, to the states of New York, Connecticut or New Jersey after Hurricane Irene. If no assistance is required the deployment will serve as a training mission.
Navy Warships Stationed Along East Coast To Help After Irene
Located just over the horizon from New York Harbor, the USS Wasp, the USS New York and the USS San Antonio are on call should civilian authorities need their help in northern New Jersey, southern New York and Connecticut, Rear Adm. Kevin Scott told CNN.
The MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters on board are ideally suited for search and rescue missions. Some of the MH-60s come equipped with a highly sensitive infrared camera that could help a pilot spot the body heat of a person trapped by flood water in a tree or on the roof of a car. If sent in to help, the helicopters would carry Navy divers who are trained for water rescues. The ships could sail up or down the East Coast if help is needed outside the tri-state region, Scott said.
While the ships may return to port without ever receiving orders to assist, Scott said this mission has been extremely valuable for the Navy, because it gives the Navy a chance to apply what it learned about humanitarian relief after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.