Aboard the carrier, every last crewmember -- from medical personnel to engineers to bakers -- is pitching in to help with the relief effort. The crew of about 6,000 has deployed at least 10 of its 17 helicopters to deliver supplies and aid to tsunami victims on the coast. Surgical teams from the carrier have set up triage sites on Sultan Iskandar Muda Air Force Base in Banda Aceh, and are working with teams from Carrier Air Wing Two and the International Organization for Migration.
I would be remiss in not mentioning the rest of the strike group and their leaders: the San Diego-based cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), commanded by Capt. Joe Harriss and the destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65), commanded by Cmdr. Don Hornbeck; the Everett, Wash.-based destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86), led by Cmdr. Alexander T. Casimes; the Pearl Harbor-based attack submarine USS Louisville (SSN 724), under the command of Cmdr. David Kirk; the Bremerton, Wash.-based fast combat support ship USS Rainier (AOE 7); Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2; Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151; Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137; and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 82.
You should also know that the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group are no strangers to humanitarian missions. In October 1993, Abraham Lincoln took off from the Arabian Gulf (where it was supporting the U.N.-sanctioned enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq) for Somalia. The carrier flew patrols over Mogadishu and surrounding areas for four months, backing U.N. ground troops during Operation Continue Hope.
How's that for "stingy"?
I wish I had room to print the name of every sailor, pilot, rescue swimmer, technician and engineer who serves in this strike group -- and on every other American ship, plane and helicopter on its way to help the tsunami victims. You deserve to be seen and known and thanked and remembered. You make America proud.
At the United Nations, saluting our troops is called jingoism. Where I'm from, it's called gratitude.
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