Pictures of Tsunami relief efforts on the USS Ronald Reagan

The USS Ronald Reagan is currently off the eastern shore of Japan, assisting in disaster relief. I’ve just noticed that some photos have been posted on the USS Ronald Reagan‘s facebook page:

Some pictures from the photo album titled Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief:

“Capt. Jim Morgan … coordinates search and rescue (SAR) efforts with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Capt. Iwasaki.

Japanese helicopter (note the red ‘dot’) landing on the Ronald Reagan.

One thought on “Pictures of Tsunami relief efforts on the USS Ronald Reagan”

  1. USS Enterprise is the first nuclear powered attack carrier in the world. It has twice as many nuclear reactors as the Nimitz class (and twice as many as required). That’s also why it’s the fastest carrier out there -it has more power than the ship can use…I seem to recall stories that there was so much excess power while doing it’s initial speed trials that the ship was shuddering, and I don’t believe the Navy has every admitted the top speed it reached. That also means it’s hideously expensive to operate, as well as being almost 50 years old. Failure to operate an air wing on it will also result in a very high accident rate if/when you want to fly C-2 Greyhounds to it for resupply. Carrier air ops is a very dangerous business, and failure to practice it regularly means mistakes will happen and aircraft & crews will be lost at an unacceptably high rate. If you don’t intend to operate planes, then it will just be an expensive ship with a lot of wasted space that will never be used. Also, the nuclear zones will require at least one marine team for security, as well as a fair amount of “policing” of all spaces to ensure people don’t get lost or stir up trouble.

    Face it, if the US Navy could afford to keep Enterprise around for dedicated humanitarian response, they would keep using it as an aircraft carrier and not pretend that they’ll be able to survive with 11 carriers instead of 12 (or 14 -I recall them arguing that they really needed more carriers…until they started wondering where they’d get the planes to fly off of them).

    Something that would work better for your concept would be something like the Bay Class LSD(A) that Australia just bought from the UK. It’s an LSD which is built to merchant marine standards (ie it’s not intended to be shot at too much). Thus, it’s “cheap” to build (~$200M) and maintain, along with a small crew of 60 backed by automation. The problem with these things, as with all amphibious-type ships is that they’re slow (~18-20 knots or so). They’d take a while to get where they’re going. Besides, just what do you intend to store in the 1200 linear metres of vehicle space? That’s 32 tanks or 150 trucks. It’ll be expensive to stock. And that’s not counting the weapons and equipment storage areas, as well as the berthings for over 300 troops.

    Thinking about it now, another possibly cheaper alternative would be something like those Cat (catamaran) ferries that Rochester used to use between a few Canadian cities for tourism. You’d have to modify them with a helipad & hangar on top, but if you could rig either a crane to load equipment onto landing craft or rig a way to get one LCAC into it, it might work. I’m not sure how many levels of vehicles were carried though. It would be fast, about 40 knots or more. At that speed, you might be able to let them sit unloaded in the great lakes beside a warehouse that holds the equipment. You could load it in a day or two, and get to where you need to be (at least off the Atlantic) in a week or two. Don’t know about the Pacific though.

    Really, there’s only two concepts the military can easily do for quick disaster relief. One idea is what the US is already doing. Dedicating a few tens of cubic metres of storage for immediate disaster relief tucked away in larger ships of the various battle groups. If the country will allow the US to help you can always resupply whatever has been deployed to the region.

    The other is Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) concept. It’s basically a deployable military mobile hospital along with a security team and several other teams to supply food, water & rescue assistance. You can basically add on whatever units are required for your deployment. It’s supposed to be available to deploy on something like 2-days’ warning. Really, after Katrina, Canada should have deployed DART to New Orleans. There was an abandoned Navy or Air Force base nearby that the team could have used until the National Guard or whoever was able to take over. But the US would never have allowed the Canadian military or anybody else for that matter, so DART was never offered, nor requested. The downside of this concept is the air support. I seem to recall that a full DART deployment required something like 18 C-130 loads. That’s why Canada always looked for an Antonov (to deploy in 2 or 3 flights, I think). And deployments are always very expensive, so the government always thinks twice before even offering DART.

    You also have to remember that many countries don’t like large numbers of foreign troops on their land, no matter what the problem is. Look at the US. They refused help after Katrina, even after it became obvious that it was turning into a disaster beyond anything imaginable. I recall a Vancouver BC rescue team showed up, but that was only because they didn’t bother to ask for permission before they left. A few other countries & states did the same thing, but military teams would never have been tolerated, especially uninvited. Even Japan refused help initially, until the carrier was parked off the coast, at which point it would have been embarassing to continue to say no.

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