Naval forces are frequently called on to respond to disasters--both natural and man-made. The activities listed below range from relief actions following floods, earthquakes, and storms to ships' crews and Marines aiding efforts to fight forest fires, to the deployment of Navy ships to assist oil clean-up efforts following the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Greece, 14-19 August 1953
The Amphibious Task Unit of the Sixth Fleet, with BLT 2/6 (Reinf.) embarked, assisted in relief operations following earthquakes in the Ionian Islands.
Haiti, October 1954
From 13 to 19 October 1954, USS Saipan operated off the southern coast of Haiti, extending relief and humanitarian aid to victims of Hurricane Hazel. Helicopters from the carrier dropped food, medicine, clothing, and other supplies to the stricken Haitians.
Greece, April 1955
Following a severe earthquake, USS Albany (CA) and William Wood (DD) provided disaster relief to the citizens of Volos, Greece, from 19 through 21 April 1955.
Mexico, October 1955
CVL-48 Saipan, with Helicopter Training Unit 1 aboard, was tasked to Tampico, Mexico, disaster relief operations for 3-10 October 1955. During these operations, the helicopters rescued 5,439 persons marooned on rooftops, trees and other retreats, and delivered 183,017 pounds of food and medical supplies. Helicopters from MAG-26, VMRs 153 and 252, and specialists from the 2d MAW also aided in the rescue work.
Spain, September 1957
Starting on 16 October 1957, USS Lake Champlain (CVS-39) with Marine Helicopter Squadron 262 embarked, aided in locating, feeding, and rescuing victims of a severe flood in the area of Valencia, Spain. Additional ships involved included USS Washtenaw County (LST) and Thuban (AKA).
Ceylon, January 1958
Navy and Marine Corps (20 from HMR-162) helicopters operating off LPH Princeton engaged in rescue work from 2 to 7 January 1958 following major flooding. Two destroyers (Eversole and Shelton) from the 7th Fleet and the tender Duxbury Bay from the Middle East Force aided the relief operations.
Marshall Islands, January 1958
On 9 January 1958, Pacific Fleet air units began delivery of emergency supplies to inhabitants of several islands in the Marshalls, which had been severely damaged by Typhoon Ophelia.
Japan, December 1958
Nine ships of an ASW group, including CVS Yorktown, were diverted from operations at sea to aid the people of Koniya, Japan, who had been left homeless by a fire that swept through the town and destroyed most of its dwellings. Within 24 hours of the disaster, the group delivered food, medicines, clothing, blankets, and tents to the needy Men from the group assisted on the scene until Japanese relief agencies could cope with the situation.
Morocco, December 1958
On 25 December 1958, Navy aircraft from the Naval Air Station, Port Lyautey, rescued 134 persons from a flooded area in Morocco.
New Zealand, March 1959
On 20 March 1959, USS Staten Island (AGB) departed Wellington, New Zealand, with emergency supplies for the storm-devastated New Zealand territorial island Niue, which is south of Samoa. Staten Island delivered six tons of food and clothing.
Uruguay, April 1959
Helicopters (HU-2s) from the ice breaker Edisto aided in rescue operations in the Montevideo, Uruguay, area after flooding. During ten days of operations (16-26 April 1959), the HU-2s carried 277 flood victims to safety.
Taiwan, August 1959
During a major flood in central Taiwan, LPH-6 Thetis Bay provided assistance from 14 to 20 August 1959. Helicopters from Marine Helicopter Squadron 261 flew 897 mercy missions from the ship, airlifting 1.6 million pounds of relief supplies and 855 refugees.
India, September 1959
From 21 through 26 September 1959, USS John S. McCain (DL) made a goodwill visit to Calcutta, India. McCain delivered medical supplies for flood victims in West Bengal.
Japan, September 1959
Following a devastating typhoon, units of the U.S. Seventh Fleet (including the aircraft carrier Kearsarge) distributed over 200,000 pounds of food and medicine, administered over 17,000 typhoid and antibiotic shots to prevent the spread of disease, and evacuated victims in Nagoya, Japan. Relief operations were conducted from 29 September through 6 October 1959.
France, December 1959
From 3 through 6 December 1959, CVA Essex, CAG Boston, DD Vogelsang, DD Mullinnix and DD Myles C. Fox aided relief efforts in the San Raphael area of France after a dam burst.
Morocco, February-March 1960
U.S. Naval aircraft shuttled supplies and equipment to Agadir, Morocco, from Port Lyautey after severe earthquakes devastated the city. In these flights, from 29 February through 6 March 1960, the aircraft also evacuated the injured. USS Newport News (CA) provided emergency supplies, a helicopter, and communication facilities at the scene of the disaster, and 147 Navy and Marine personnel aided in rescuing survivors trapped in the debris.
Brazil, April 1960
From 2 through 13 April 1960, USS Glacier (AGB) conducted flood-relief operations near Fortaleza, Brazil. Glacier was diverted from transit from Antarctica to the United States.
Chile, June 1960
From 26 June through 15 July 1960, USS Catamount (LSD) and an embarked boat group conducted flood-relief operations in the area of Valparaiso, Chile.
Florida, September 1960
From 4 through 12 September 1960, USS Bushnell (ASR) and Penguin (ASR) conducted relief operations in the Marathon, Florida, area following Hurricane Donna.
Haiti, November-December 1960
Flooding of Lake Miragoane washed out a bridge linking a portion of southwest Haiti with the remainder of the country. Marine Assault Construction Battalion personnel constructed a new bridge and 6.5 miles of improved road in 29 days.
Belize, November 1961
On 4 November 1961, a five-ship U.S. Navy relief force departed for Belize, British Honduras, to engage in relief operations following Hurricane Hattie. The lead ship was CVS-36 Antietam. Helicopters from Training Squadron 8 and Marine Helicopter Squadron 264 carried over 57 tons of food, water, and medical supplies, and transported medical and other relief personnel to areas hit by the hurricane.
Japan, August 1962
Units of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, including one attack aircraft carrier, provided medical assistance, food, and evacuation services to survivors of a volcano eruption on Miyako Island, Japan.
Guam, November 1962
Following damage caused on 11 November 1962 by Typhoon Karen, USNS Fulton (TAP) furnished electrical power to the stricken island of Guam from 13 to 21 November. The ship's sick bay was used as a hospital--five babies were born on board during this period.
Morocco, January 1963
From 7 through 13 January 1953, helicopters from NAS Port Lyautey, NS Rota, and USS Springfield flew rescue and relief missions in the flooded areas of Beth and Sebou Rivers in Morocco. Over 45,000 pounds of food, medicines, and emergency supplies were flown in, and some 320 marooned persons were lifted to safety.
Haiti, October 1963
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps units spent nearly two weeks conducting relief operations for the people of Haiti hard hit by Hurricane Flora. Cuba refused a U.S. offer of aid. About 250 tons of relief supplies were airlifted to Haiti by helicopter; another 125 tons were delivered by landing craft in an across-the-beach operation. Ships participating were CVS-39 Lake Champlain, APD-60 Liddle, AKA-61 Muliphen, and LPH-6 Thetis Bay. Navy and Marine Corps cargo aircraft delivered supplies from East Coast stations.
Costa Rica, May 1964
At the request of the Costa Rican government, a team of 33 Navy Seabees and 271 tons of heavy construction equipment were transported to Costa Rica by air to carry out emergency flood-control measures in the area of Mt. Irazu.
Hispaniola, August 1964
On 29 August 1964, LPH-4 Boxer and two LSDs arrived off the coast of Hispaniola to give medical aid and helicopter evacuation services to people in areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic badly damaged by Hurricane Cleo.
Vietnam, November 1964
During major flooding of Quang Tri, Quang Ngai, and Binh Dinh provinces, amphibious units of Task Force 76 provided relief. For example, USMC helicopters (HMM-162) from LPH Princeton delivered 1,300 tons of relief supplies.
Mexico, October 1966
A joint task force of Marine, Navy, Army, and Air Force personnel airlifted food and supplies to Tampico to victims of Hurricane Inez. Over 102,000 pounds of relief supplies were flown in, 80 flood victims were evacuated, and several hundred victims were treated by Navy doctors.
Tunisia, October 1969
Following flooding in Tunisia in October 1969, helicopters off AFS-5 White Plains flew a number of relief missions. Six of the pilots, from Helicopter Support Squadron, Detachment 86, were awarded Tunisia's "Order of the Republic, Degree of Chevalier" on 17 February 1970.
Peru, June 1970
On 9 June 1970, following a major earthquake in Peru, USS Guam left Panama for Peru. On 12 June, 11 days of relief flights by 16 helicopters of HMM-365 operating off Guam began. During the over 800 flights, the helicopters transported medical teams into remote areas, brought back victims for medical care, and delivered more than 55 tons of emergency relief items.
Philippines, September 1970
Following Typhoon Georgia, USMC water purification equipment was flown to the Philippines from Japan.
Philippines, October 1970
Following Hurricane Joan in October 1970, relief operations were conducted off USS Okinawa (LPH-3), USS Anchorage (LSD-36), and USS Duluth (LPD-6). CH-46 helicopters from HMM-164 flew 70 relief sorties and delivered over 65 tons of supplies in five days of operations. USN and USMC medical teams treated over 1,000 patients following the hurricane.
Vietnam, October 1970
Following the ravages of Typhoon Kate and flood waters that inundated some 140 square miles of Vietnam south of Da Nang, the helicopter forces of 1st Marine Aircraft Whig performed rescue and relief operations for over 9,000 South Vietnamese. Initial rescue operations began on 29 October 1970 when MAG-16 evacuated some 900 people on the first day during floods deemed the worst since 1964.
Philippines, July 1972
Following Typhoon Rita in July 1972, U.S. military forces provided a wide range of aid to the 500,000 victims. For example, HMM-165 evacuated over 2,000 Filipinos threatened by flooding, included 150 women and children rescued from a flooded island in the Ango River who were brought aboard USS Tripoli. USMC helicopters flew in 350 tons of relief supplies, in addition to flying in disaster relief teams and evacuating victims. Tripoli was on scene from 22 July until New Orleans relieved her on 5 August.
Tunisia, March 1973
In response to an urgent request for flood relief from the American Embassy in Tunisia on 28 March, one aircraft carrier (Forrestal) was in position to provide helicopter assistance by first light 29 March (about 13 hours after the request). The helicopter operations were also supported by one destroyer (DDG) and two LPDs. U.S. helicopters flew about 40 sorties, rescuing or relocating 729 persons, moving 27 tons of cargo, lifting 17 doctors to evacuation centers, lifting an emergency appendectomy to the CVA, and evacuating the entire sheep herd (227 sheep) from one flooded village. In addition, the carrier's bakery provided 1,200 loaves of bread for distribution, and crew members contributed money to buy supplies for homeless children. During the relief mission, U.S. personnel temporarily based at Tunis airport coordinated the rescue efforts flown by helicopters, not only of U.S. forces, but from Tunisia, Italy, France, and Libya as well.
Tunisia, December 1973
From 14 through 17 December 1973, helicopters from USS Iwo Jima conducted refugee rescue, equipment deliveries, and other flood-associated missions in Tunisia.
Philippines, August 1974
Following major flooding in the Philippines, helicopters from HMM-164 (off LPH-10 Tripoli and AFS-7 San Jose), as well as USN helicopters, flew 244 sorties over six days of operations (18-24 August 1974). USAF support included flying supplies from Manila to Clark Air Force Base. Both rescue missions and food-delivery flights were flown.
Mauritius, February 1975
On 9 February 1975, AOE-2 Camden began disaster relief operations at Mauritius following Cyclone Cervaise. CVAN-65 Enterprise, CGN-9 Long Beach, and AFS-1 Mars joined the relief operations the next day. Carrier personnel spent more than 10,000 man-hours rendering such assistance as restoring water, power, and telephone systems; clearing roads and debris; and providing helicopter, medical, food, and potable water support to the stricken area. Enterprise departed on the 16th.
Guatemala, February 1976
In late February 1976, three ships from Amphibious Squadron Four (LST-1190 Boulder, LST-1193 Fairfax County, and LSD-34 Hermitage) transported U.S. Army Engineers from Morehead City, North Carolina, to Guatemala for road and construction work following devastating earthquakes. The engineers were transported back to the United States by ships from Amphibious Squadron Two in late April.
Italy, May 1976
Following a 6 May 1976 earthquake in the Tagliamento River valley northeast of Venice, more than ten tons of relief supplies were flown in from the Naples Navy community by USN C-130 Hercules aircraft.
Guam and Philippines, May 1976
Following massive damage caused by Typhoon Pamela on 20 May 1976, U.S. Navy ships (including AD-14 Dixie, LST-1193 Peoria, and TAKR-9 Meteor) assisted in recovery work in Guam. MSC ships transported disaster relief supplies from Subic Bay to Guam. Over 1,000 Seventh Fleet personnel assisted in relief efforts in the civilian community. On 21 May, Typhoon Olga moved across central Luzon and caused massive flooding. U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force personnel conducted disaster relief operations with helicopters delivering emergency supplies to isolated communities. Over 1,900 people were evacuated, and more than 370,000 pounds of disaster relief supplies and 9,340 gallons of fuel were provided by Navy and Air Force helicopters. Helicopters from HS-4 aboard Ranger, from HC-3 on Camden, Mars, and White Plains; and from NAS Cubi Point assisted in the Philippine disaster-relief effort.
Venezuela, July 1976
The Military Sealift Command ship USNS Sealift Arctic (TAO-175) spent 30 days shuttling fresh water to Curacao to relieve a severe water shortage due to drought and an accident to Curacao Island's water distillation plant.
Azores, January 1980
On 2 January 1980, a detachment of P-3B Orions of VP-10, deployed at Rota, Spain, flew photo reconnaissance missions to locate areas damaged in the earthquake that had struck the Azores the day before, killing some 50 persons and injuring another 500.
Algeria, October 1980
On 12 October 1980, ships of the Amphibious Forces, Sixth Fleet, including USS Guadalcanal, began assisting the victims of a massive earthquake that had devastated the Algerian city of Al Asnam. The ships took up positions 20-25 miles offshore to render helicopter support in the disaster relief efforts.
Italy, November 1980
On 25 November 1980, RH-53D Sea Stallions from VR-24, together with units of the U.S. Army and Air Force, began disaster-relief assistance to victims of the devastating earthquake at Avellino, Italy. The earthquake, on 23 November, killed over 3,000 persons and left many more homeless. The Commander, Fleet Air, Mediterranean, headquartered at Naples, was director of the U.S. military support efforts.
Sardinia, July 1983
Several hundred sailors from SSN-637 Sturgeon, SSN-679 Silversides, and AS-18 Orion fought fires and assisted local rescue efforts on Sardinia.
Samoa, March 1990
In March 1990, a detachment of 30 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 deployed from Guam to Samoa for 30 days to repair damage done by Hurricane Ofa in February.
Antigua, April 1990
Seven months following Hurricane Hugo, on 26 April 1990, FFG-24 Jack Williams loaded 12 tons of medical supplies donated by citizens of Charleston for delivery to Antigua on April 30.
Philippines, July 1990
On 16 July 1990, an earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale occurred in central Luzon. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps assistance included a Navy Medical Contingency team and a Marine Combat Service Support Team (CSST) transported to Cabanatuan City (about 75 miles north of Manila, close to the epicenter) on the day of the earthquake.
The Navy is often called on to aid stricken refugees. This can range from providing transportation services to medical care to rescuing desperate refugees from unseaworthy boats. Over the past decade, the most prominent Navy activity of this type has been the relatively frequent rescue of Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. The following are a few examples of Navy assistance to refugees over the past four and one-half decades.
Middle East, Dec 1948-Jan 1949
AD-20 Hamal deployed from the United Kingdom for 37 days to deliver relief supplies (blankets) to Beirut and Port Said. Hamal departed London 10 December 1948 and arrived in Beirut on the 21st, where 60,000 blankets were unloaded. Hamal then went to Port Said, where the remaining 70,000 blankets were delivered. She departed Port Said on 26 December and returned to the United Kingdom on 14 January 1949.
Hungary, December 1956
Operation Safe Haven was conducted from 18 December 1956 through 14 February 1957. Ships of the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service (USNS Eltinge, Haan, Marine Carp, and Walker--all TAPs) transported 8,944 refugees from the Hungarian revolution from Bremerhaven, Germany, to New York.
South China Sea, May 1979
On 5 May 1979, FF 1073 Robert E. Peary rescued 440 Vietnamese refugees from their disabled craft 400 miles south of Thailand.
South China Sea, 1980
On 30 January 1980, AE-26 Kilauea rescued 67 Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. On 22 April 1980, CG-18 Worden rescued 44 Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. On 25 April, USNS Sealift Antarctic rescued 59 Vietnamese refugees about 300 miles northeast of Saigon. A P-3 aircraft from Patrol Squadron Four directed the ship to the rescue. On 1 May, CGN-9 Long Beach rescued 107 Vietnamese refugees about 250 miles southeast of Saigon. On 10 June, a USN P-3 located a refugee boat in the South China Sea and directed the American merchant ship SS Point Margo to rescue the 28 refugees. On 1 July, TAOT-176 Sealift Antarctic rescued 176 Vietnamese refugees and 9 Indonesians from a disabled Indonesian craft in the South China Sea. On 15 July, DDG-16 Joseph Strauss rescued 44 Vietnamese refugees. DD-972 rescued 84 refugees 300 miles northeast of Singapore on 4 August. On 11 August, the SS Transcolorado, an MSC-chartered ship, rescued 67 Vietnamese refugees, 240 miles southeast of Saigon.
On 21 August, CGN-35 Truxtun rescued 42 Vietnamese refugees 210 miles southeast of Saigon, and DD-976 Merrill rescued 62 200 miles southeast of Saigon. The next day, TAO 107 Passumpsic, guided by P-3 aircraft from Patrol Squadrons 26 and 1, rescued 28 refugees. On 3 September, DD-966 Hewitt rescued 12 refugees. On 1 October, DDG-21 Cochrane rescued 104 refugees about 620 miles east of Saigon, ATS-3 Brunswick rescued 27 two days later about 300 miles southeast of Saigon, and, on 6 October, LCC-19 Blue Ridge, rescued 91 refugees. On 27 October, TAOT-175 Sealift Arctic rescued 300 refugees 240 miles southeast of Saigon. On 29 October, DDG-33 Parsons rescued 110 more 330 miles south of Saigon. On 8 November, FF-1067 Francis Hammond rescued 85 refugees 200 miles southeast of the Vietnamese coast.
Cuban Refugees, May 1980
On 30 April 1980, President Carter ordered the Navy to divert ships scheduled for a Caribbean naval exercise to assist in rescuing Cuban refugees who were in distress aboard overcrowded private vessels. On 1 May, the Department of Defense announced that Atlantic Fleet ships would be diverted from Exercise Solid Shield 80 to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in the Florida Straits. Navy ships assigned to the operations included: LHA-2 Saipan, LST-1190 Boulder, LPD-15 Ponce, LSI-1188 Saginaw, LPD-12 Shreveport, MSO-448 Illusive, MSO-490 Leader, MSO-443 Fidelity, MSO-441 Exultant, MSO-431 Dominant, MSO-433 Engage. On 9 May, a landing craft from LHA-2 Saipan took 140 Cuban refugees aboard. On 3 June, President Carter authorized the involuntary call-up of USCG reservists to take over the regular duties of Coast Guard personnel assigned to aid with the Cuban refugee operations.
On 12 June, the operation began to wind down. Over 125,000 refugees came to the United States from Cuba. Over 2,000 Coast Guard personnel were involved, and the 7th Coast Guard District in Miami was augmented during the operation by 17 additional cutters, 5 boats, and 16 aircraft. In addition, USN P-3 maritime patrol aircraft and 11 Navy ships assisted the Coast Guard. On 15 May, President Carter ordered an end to the sealift of Cuban refugees. On 8 September, four Navy ships and three patrol boats were ordered to assist the Coast Guard in a patrol to blockade Cuban refugee boats.
Vietnamese Refugees, South China Sea, July 1983
During one week in July (20-27), CG-31 Sterett rescued 262 Vietnamese refugees, DDG-994 Callagan 284, and P-3 patrol aircraft vectored merchant ships to 80 more.
South China Sea, Summer 1989
On 16 May 1989, DD-973 John Young rescued 46 Vietnamese refugees in the South China sea, 200 miles west of the Philippine island of Luzon. From June 1988 to this rescue, Pacific Fleet ships had rescued 354 refugees. On 26 June, CG-24 Reeves and DD-991 Fife rescued 92 refugees about 320 miles southwest of the Philippines. From 1983 to this rescue, Navy forces had assisted 1,380 refugees. In August 1989, CV-61 Ranger rescued 39 refugees amid heavy seas and monsoon rains about 60 miles from Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines. On September 6, CG-52 Bunker Hill rescued 49 refugees about 200 miles northeast of Singapore; the next day the Vietnamese were transferred to TAE-26 Kilauea for transport to Singapore.
Atlantic, September 1989
On 6 September 1989, MSO-440 Exploit recovered five Cubans from a small homemade raft about 30 miles east of Miami.
South China Sea, May 1990
On 17 May 1990, FF-1053 Roark rescued 42 refugees from an unseaworthy craft. The Navy Salvage Ship ATS 2 Beaufort, based in Sasebo, Japan, rescued 24 Vietnamese refugees on 26 May 1990 in the South China Sea. The refugees had been attacked by Vietnamese pirates and were without provisions. Two days later, on 28 May, 77 refugees were rescued from another vessel that was determined to be unseaworthy.
South China Sea, July 1990
On 25 July 1990, AO-177 Cimarron rescued 25 refugees adrift at sea southwest of Subic Bay, Philippines.
Emergency Medical Assistance
Navy and Marine Corps units are sometimes called on to provide emergency medical assistance. Often this assistance involves transport from or to relatively remote locations. The following are a few examples of such emergency assistance.
New Zealand, April 1961
On 10 April 1961, a C-130BL Hercules of VX-6 landed at Christchurch, New Zealand, and completed the emergency evacuation from Byrd Station, Antarctica, of a Soviet exchange scientist who was suffering from an acute abdominal condition. The round trip flight out of Christchurch was the first to pierce the winter isolation of the Antarctic continent
Peru, March 1964
On 13 March 1964, two Marine helicopter crews of VMO-1 rescued 11 sick, injured, and wounded members of a road engineering party that had survived attacks by hostile Indians in the dense jungle of the Amazon basin near Iquitos, Peru. The helicopters were transferred ashore in the Canal Zone from USS Guadalcanal and were airlifted to Iquitos by a U.S. Air Force C-130.
Antarctic, January 1979
On 4 January 1979, a Navy ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft flew injured Russian survivors of a plane crash from their Antarctic Research Station to New Zealand. The Russian station is 1,800 miles from the American base at McMurdo Sound.
Seychelles, February 1989
A P-3 aircraft from Patrol Wing One was ordered to the Seychelles in February 1989 in response to a Soviet request for assistance. A Soviet scientist from the SRS AA Nesmeyanov was suffering from a severe case of the bends. The P-3 transported U.S. Navy diving and medical experts to the scene.
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps units often engage in what could be called "nation-building" or, perhaps, goodwill activities. These operations range from the provision of medical care to the use of Navy platforms to deliver aid to the nearly constant but little recorded instances of port visit civic action activities (such as repairing schools). This section includes just a few examples of these common activities.
Ethiopia, April-May 1961
A U.S. Navy preventive-medicine unit traveled throughout Ethiopia to assist the government in fighting a yellow-fever epidemic.
Iran, November 1963
DD-758 Strong, in company with the Iranian naval ship Babr, conducted a seven-day joint civic medical action mission along the southern coast of Iran. U.S. and Iranian doctors treated 2,335 patients at the ports of Chahbar, Jask, and Bandar Abbas.
Caribbean, October-December 1973
The USS Sanctuary (AH-17) conducted a 75-day "Navy Handclasp" cruise to Colombia and Haiti. During the cruise, Navy doctors treated thousands of Colombian and Haitian patients.
United Arab Emirates, February 1990
Sailors from DDG-45 Dewey worked ten days straight to renovate a school for handicapped children during a port visit to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Romania, May-June 1990
AFS Concord carried 72 pallets of humanitarian assistance items bound for Romania to Rota under the auspices of Operation Handclasp. The humanitarian aid was offloaded at Rota and transported via Sixth Fleet assets to Romania.
Morocco, July 1990
During exercise African Hammer, 46 Seabees from NMCB 3 renovated the elementary school in Sidi Slimane, about 60 miles from Rabat. Repairs included constructing a septic system, installing lights and ceiling fans, and making structural repairs to the school. Earlier in the year, the same unit had rebuilt railroad lines in central Tunisia after flooding devastated the main railway system.
The following are a number of other examples of humanitarian activities by U.S. Naval forces around the world that do not fall neatly into one of the previous categories. Again, these are just indicative of Navy and Marine Corps humanitarian activities, and the list should not be taken as comprehensive in either the number or scope of actions.
Vietnam, January 1973
Task Force 78 was formed to conduct minesweeping operations in North Vietnamese waters under the code name Operation Endsweep. It consisted of surface minesweeping elements and Air Mobile Mine Countermeasures Command. The latter was made up of HM-12, HMH-463, and HMM-165. Ships of the force included USS New Orleans, USS Tripoli, and USS Inchon, Minesweeping operations continued through July 1973. Four aircraft carriers (Enterprise, Oriskany, Ranger, and Coral Sea) supported Endsweep.
Suez Canal, April 1974-October 1975
On 24 April 1974, U.S. Navy forces began minesweeping operations in the Suez Canal Zone. (The first U.S. planners for this operation had arrived in Cairo on 22 March.) On 23 July 1975, the Department of Defense announced the end of U.S. military participation in Suez Canal clearing operations. ARS-41 Opportune was the last ship of Task Force 65 to sail from the Suez area. In August-October 1975, the U.S. Navy assisted Egyptian efforts to clear the Damietta minefield in the Mediterranean north of the Suez Canal.
Toulon, France, June 1989
On June 27 1989, two shore patrol officers from AD-44 Shenandoah rescued several local residents from a burning apartment building, including two elderly women and a blind man.
Eastern Pacific, February 1990
On 20 February 1990, sailors from FFG-46 Rentz freed a humpback whale entangled in fouled fishing nets off the Pacific Coast of Baja California, Mexico.