The USS Fort McHenry, an amphibious dock landing ship that operates from Sasebo, arrived in Indonesia this week with 50 Seabees from the Okinawa-based Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 40, according to a Navy report. Marines from the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa also are supporting efforts with the Fort McHenry to provide relief to areas devastated by the tsunamis.
The Seabees with the Fort McHenry are focused on contingency construction, road clearing and runway repair projects, the report said. Sailors and Marines they accompany are delivering fresh water and other aid as part of Operation Unified Assistance.
During the next few weeks, the report stated, NMCB 40 is likely to deploy more Seabees to provide humanitarian assistance in Indonesia. Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson, a construction electrician from Bravo Company, was part of the first group.
“We have a difficult task ahead of us that will prove to be both physically and mentally demanding on everyone involved,” Nelson said in the report.
“If we are able to put the situation into perspective and remember the cause we are supporting,” he stated, “it will be easier to deal with what we see and hear while we are there.”