USS Iwo Jima to Visit Miami En Route to Humanitarian Mission

By Dialogo
July 19, 2010

The amphibious ship USS Iwo Jima will visit Miami
July 19-21 to conduct final preparations before beginning a four-month humanitarian
assistance mission that will include visits to eight countries in the Caribbean,
Central and South America.

The mission, called Continuing Promise 2010, will include humanitarian and
civic assistance activities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti,
Nicaragua, Panama and Suriname, and will be supported by a crew of approximately
1,600 military and civilian medical, engineering, aviation, logistical and other
support personnel.

The crew will load mission supplies, as well as goods donated by more than 30
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), at the port of
Miami before proceeding on the first leg of the mission in Port de Paix,

A military and civilian medical team aboard Iwo Jima will provide general
surgical, primary and consultative care; ophthalmologic services; optometric
services; preventative and environmental health; dental screenings and treatment;
public health training; and veterinary services. The team will work alongside
medical personnel from NGOs and each of the countries
during the deployment.

U.S. Navy engineers, known as Seabees, will conduct building repairs and
improvements, small construction projects, utility system repairs and other
engineering assistance projects for local communities during the

Approximately 500 Marines will provide aviation, ground and logistical
support to the mission and conduct subject-matter-expert exchanges on various
medical and engineering topics.

The crew of the Iwo Jima will be joined during the mission by medical, dental
and engineering professionals from Canada, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands and

In addition to supporting the humanitarian assistance mission, Iwo Jima will
also be staffed and configured to support disaster relief operations in the region
if directed by U.S. Southern Command.

Large amphibious ships, like Iwo Jima, resemble small aircraft carriers and
include the ability to rapidly move personnel and cargo by helicopter and landing
craft, making it an ideal platform to support humanitarian relief missions on short
notice. Iwo Jima will operate in the Caribbean basin, an area with a history of
severe weather events during the peak months of the hurricane season.

This is the fifth such deployment to the region since 2007. Prior deployments
were supported by crews embarked 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.