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The amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) arrived off the coast of Haiti on Jan. 23, and began providing humanitarian assistance immediately when they received medical casualties from the earthquake-stricken nation.
Nassau was originally scheduled to deploy to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility to support Maritime Security Operations, however after the recent earthquake that decimated the island nation of Haiti the ship was tasked with assisting the U.S. forces already providing humanitarian relief.
Immediately upon arrival at the port town of Port-au-Prince, several patients were flown to Nassau and taken down into the ship's medical department for treatment.
"I never dreamed I would do something like this when I was trained as a stretcher-bearer," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Anuradha Sharma, a native of Queens, N.Y., stationed on Nassau. "I feel terrible for what has happened to Haiti, but I'm grateful I'm able to help in any way I can."
Providing this type of assistance is nothing new to Nassau, as she provided aid to Galveston, Texas, after a hurricane hit the city in 2008.
"We've had a lot of training for humanitarian assistance," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW) Steve Banner, a native of Bristol, Tenn. "I was on board for Galveston, so I've had this experience before. In Haiti the language barrier makes it a little more tasking, but my shipmates have really stepped up and provided translators."
Nassau is deployed as part of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group/24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (NAS ARG/24MEU) in support of Maritime Security Operations (MSO) and Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility. The NAS ARG/24 MEU is comprised of embarked Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4), the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19).