USS Iwo Jima Stops In Miami On Way To Haiti

It’s been more than six months since a devastating earthquake destroyed much of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Countless amounts of aid and money have been moving to the region since, and one ship, the USS Iwo Jima, stopped in Miami while on its way to Haiti.The ship will begin a four-month humanitarian assistance mission that will include visits to eight countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The ship was the responder for Hurricane Katrina.

The mission is called Continuing Promise 2010. It will be supported by a crew of approximately 1,600 military and civilian medical, engineering, aviation, logistical, and other support personnel.

“I know all the sailors have been telling me for months how excited they are to go out and about and help,” said USS Iwo Jima Captain Jeff Amick.

The crew’s stop in Miami will allow them to load mission supplies as well as goods donated by non-governmental organizations. In addition, a military and civilian medical team aboard the Iwo Jima will provide medical attention to Haiti.

“Simple things, lump and bump removals, hernia repairs,” Amick said. “We’ll also be doing some very life changing things like removing cataracts. People who don’t have sight, now they can see again.”

Kandace Kelsey, a Navy operations specialist from Fort Lauderdale, is happy to provide assistance to areas so close to South Florida.

“It feels good that I can leave here, from a place where I have a lot of stuff to go somewhere where I can help others,” Kelsey said.

The team will include the Seabees, who will conduct building repairs, small construction projects, utility system repairs, and other engineering assistance for communities in Haiti.

This is the fifth such deployment to the region since 2007. Prior deployments were supported by crews aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort and the amphibious ships USS Boxer and USS Kearsarge. Continuing Promise crews have treated more than 265,000 patients during previous missions.


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