Peacekeeping: Warships To The Rescue


p> September 10, 2007: While U.S. Navy ships were holding training exercises off Panama last week, a huge hurricane slammed into nearby Honduras and Nicaragua. The amphibious ship USS Wasp was quickly ordered to head north for the battered Nicaraguan east coast, and render all assistance. The 40,000 ton Wasp is basically an aircraft carrier that also carries landing craft and over a thousand marines. Most of the marines are elsewhere (Iraq and Afghanistan), but the medical facilities on the ship are staffed, and can treat 600 casualties, using four main and two emergency operating rooms, plus all the other facilities you'd expect to find in a hospital.


The 40 or so helicopters that can operate off the flight deck are a major asset during these post-disaster operations. The U.S. Navy has been enthusiastic about these disaster relief operations. The sailors and marines like to use their military skills for humanitarian operations, and the work is a form of useful training. The State Department like these navy efforts as well, as they are very much appreciated by the victims and make the local politicians take a friendlier stance towards the United States.


Von Clausewitz would have approved.


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