Atlantic Ocean - Amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) loaded relief equipment and personnel from aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) Oct. 10 as it steamed toward Haiti to join the disaster relief efforts.
More than 150 U.S. Marines, along with four MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and equipment, were transferred at sea as the two largest types of U.S. Navy ships passed one another in waters along the East Coast.
This increases the ship's capabilities beyond the 500 Marines, four aircraft and two landing craft utility boats already on board.
"This additional personnel and equipment gives us greater flexibility and capability as we assist the country of Haiti during this recovery period," said Capt. James Midkiff, commanding officer of Iwo Jima. "The Ospreys give us a better organic logistic asset and [are] a force enhancer that allow the Iwo team to render more assistance. Everyone on board is relieved to be in calmer seas and is looking forward to this opportunity to lend a helping hand to those in need."
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. government agency for foreign disaster assistance and is working with Joint Task Force (JTF) Matthew to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the people of Haiti following Hurricane Matthew.
Iwo Jima is scheduled to arrive in Haiti this week.