Monday, November 18, 2013

Aboard U.S. Carrier, Philadelphia Native Sees Typhoon's Impact

As a Philadelphian who served on an aircraft carrier when I was a young sailor during the Vietnam War,  I was interested in Michael Matza's piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a Philadelphian  serving on a carrier that is involved with the Philippines relief mission.

Working in classified intelligence aboard an aircraft carrier off the Philippines, Petty Officer Third Class Robert Nurse, a Philadelphia native, pores over aerial surveillance photographs of the typhoon-ravaged country, looking for safe places to land Navy relief helicopters. 

A 2011 high school graduate of the city's Science Leadership Academy, Nurse, 20, is in his second year in the Navy and is normally stationed in Japan.

Now on temporary assignment to bring food, water, and medical supplies to the Philippines, he is part of the 5,500-person crew of the George Washington, the nuclear-powered supercarrier longer than three football fields (1,092 feet), well over a field wide (252 feet), and 24 stories tall, and able to make 400,000 gallons of fresh water daily.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered the vessel to the region to provide disaster aid Nov. 12. Sixty hours later, it was there.
"My job is basically to coordinate with pilots" of the 24 helicopters and V-22 Ospreys in the George Washington's battle group, Nurse said in a satellite-telephone interview Monday. The pilots ferry supplies and transport injured people.

"I look at the photographs to determine where it is safe to go. Are there downed wires in the area? Is the ground stable? Today, we looked at images of roads to see if they are capable of being used."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Note: The above U.S. Navy photo shows the USS George Washington at sea.

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