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The USS Bataan can hold 600 patients, produce 100k gallons of drinkable water a day, and stations 1,200 sailors who could aid in the resecue and recovery efforts. Most of which has yet to be utilized in response to the disaster, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SHIP HAS BEEN IN THE AREA SINCE KATRINA HAS HIT.

Please read today's Chicago Tribune story on the Bataan and its C.O.'s frustration with being under utilized while several other Navy ships are still en route to get to the area.

1,200 sailors that can aid in cleanup and clearing of roadways.  The ability to produce drinking water and delivering it (helicopters).  A 600 bed hospital with doctors with nothing else to do.

Add this to the list of the indictment of the federal government's mismanagement of the response.

Note, unlike the Cmd. of the Guard who claims that reaching the area was all but impossible until now.  This Navy commander believes he could get personel wherever they're needed.

Here's a quote from the story:
Then the Bataan was ordered to move to the waters off Biloxi, Miss., and LCU-1656 was ordered to return. The landing craft was 40 miles from New Orleans, but it wouldn't be able to deliver its cargo.

"It was a disappointment," Fish said. "I figured we would be a big help in New Orleans. We've got electricity, and the police could have charged up their radios. We've got water, toilets. We've got food."

Now sailing within 25 miles of Gulfport, Miss., the Bataan has become a floating warehouse. Supplies from Texas and Florida are ferried out to the ship, and the helicopters distribute them where Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel say they are needed.

The Bataan has also taken on a substantial medical staff. Helicopters ferried 84 doctors, nurses and technicians 60 miles out to the ship from the Pensacola Naval Air Station on Friday, and on Saturday afternoon 24 of the medical personnel were flown to the New Orleans Convention Center where they expected to augment the staff of an Air Force medical clinic on the center's bus parking lot. The medical staff had come from Jacksonville, Fla., Naval Hospital, and they covered a wide swath of medical specialties from surgeons and pediatricians to heart specialists, a psychiatrist and even a physical therapist.

"It's really a cross section of a major hospital," said Capt. Kevin Gallagher, a Navy nurse who was part of the group. "We haven't been told what to expect, but we're going to find out once we get out there."

Moving in, ready to go

On Friday evening the Bataan was edging closer to the Mississippi shoreline; until then, it had stayed well out into the gulf to avoid floating debris.

Closer to shore, it will be able to deploy the landing craft again, as well as Marine hovercraft that can ride up onto shore to deliver supplies.

LCU-1656 cruised 98 miles overnight Thursday with a failed electrical generator and broken starboard propeller to join up again with the Bataan, their mother ship. After repairs, it was to set out for the shoreline near Gulfport, Miss., Saturday with a 15,000 water tank lashed to vessel's deck, as well as pallets of bottled water.

The role in the relief effort of the sizable medical staff on board the Bataan was not up to the Navy, but to FEMA officials directing the overall effort.

That agency has been criticized sharply for failing to respond quickly enough.

Tyson said the hurricane was an unusual event that has left some painful lessons.

"Can you do things better? Always," Tyson said. "Unfortunately, some of the lessons we have learned during this catastrophe we are learning the hard way. But I think we're working together well to make things happen."

Originally posted to ohdemvoter on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:48 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good pickup, recommended (none)
    these people could have save a number of lives. No question.

    Be a Carville, not a Colmes

    by seesdifferent on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:49:05 PM PDT

  •  On Vacation (none)
    If the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces had not been on vacation at his Estate in Texas, thousands of lives could have been saved.

    There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.-Charles Dickens

    by Ranting Roland on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:49:18 PM PDT

    •  federal posse comitatus statute (4.00)
      Incidentally, as I have posted a couple other places, the Repubs are trying to use the Posse Comitatus federal statute to say that the military couldn't go in. Wrong. That law refers only to law enforcement, not disasters, and further, it can be suspended by Congress or the president.

      Be a Carville, not a Colmes

      by seesdifferent on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 04:52:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and... (none)
        Your average gun-toting looter probably doesn't know anything about posse comitatus. If there's a freaking gunboat sitting in front of evacuation areas  with the megaphone blaring "drop your weapons" as all the other soldiers around load up people on some amphibious transports and just get them out of the area, I bet a heat-packing constitutional lawyer wouldn't try to argue.

        Don't see why their only conceivable (and also illegal) use would be shooting looters in the street. What if we had to invade Holland or something? Infrastructure goes to shit in a war zone.

    •  Bush's ESTATE (none)
      great emphasis there.  We should have started pounding this meme in 2003.  It's a little late now, but late is better than never.

      What ranch?  It's a frickin' estate...

      "Don't want to be an American idiot..." -- Green Day

      by Black Maned Pensator on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 05:31:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sort of a variation... (none)

       ...on the St. Louis, only with the endangered people on the shore.

       

    Republicans oppose abortion -- it happens eighteen years too early.

    by Buzzer on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 05:02:50 PM PDT

  •  Just as I thought (none)
    I knew from day one that our poeple in uniform were more than chomping at the bit to get in there and get the job done. I wonder how they feel knowing they have a "Commander in Chief" who treats them like a plaything.

    "We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang seperately." - Ben Franklin

    by RandyMI on Sun Sep 04, 2005 at 05:27:45 PM PDT

  •  Chertoff's or Brownie's quote tomorrow: (none)
    "I had no idea the Navy actually has ships in the Gulf of Mexico"

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