Sailors, Marines Join USS Wasp for Sandy Relief
By Marine Corps Cpl. Michael Lockett
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2012 – Marines and sailors of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., flew aboard the USS Wasp Nov. 1 to prepare to provide assistance to New Jersey, New York and Connecticut in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Within less than a day of receiving the order from Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox, the commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marines and sailors boarded aircraft and sortied from bases in North Carolina to meet the amphibious assault ship as it sailed off the coast of New York City, preparing to provide medical, logistical, engineering, and heavy airlift support to the storm-damaged areas if tasked by the secretary of defense.
“What’s important here is that the American public sees that their military can provide support to American cities, to American citizens, in a time of need,” said Marine Corps Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, 26th MEU commanding officer. The MEU is a Marine Corps crisis-response force that’s designed to remain afloat for months at a time.
The 26th MEU is uniquely suited to the task. Operating from a Navy vessel, the unit’s air assets have an agility that ensures aid can be delivered anywhere within hundreds of miles.
“We have the capability to fly, and we can support New Jersey. We can support New York City. We can support Connecticut — simultaneously,” St. Clair said. “That’s what the MEU brings — the flexibility and the inherent capabilities that come with it.”