ON BOARD USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN – In an attempt to help provide support to South Asia, military forces have joined in support of Operation Unified Assistance to help rebuild what was destroyed during the region’s recent earthquake and tsunami disasters. Among these forces are USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing 2 based out of Bremerton, Wash.

One of Lincoln’s 6,500 crewmembers is Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Connie Bard, daughter of Edwin and Miriam Bard of Leeds.

“It’s a heart-warming feeling to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the tsunami. Now is not a time of glory for our nation, but a time to lend our hand in empathy and help pick up the pieces for the survivors,” said Bard.

Bard’s ship was the first to provide logistic support to the disaster-stricken area. Six SH-60F Seahawk helicopters from Lincoln started the humanitarian mission by ferrying food and medical supplies, injured people and others affected by the disaster to and from collection points in the Indonesian town of Banda Aceh.

“It’s important for the U.S. military to be involved in humanitarian operations such as this to show we’re not in place simply to seek war. We’re here to assist people in their time of need,” Bard said.

Government officials view Lincoln as the best force to have in the region at the right time, a consideration Bard agrees with.

“Lincoln can provide the use of helicopters, which means we’ll be one of the only links more remotely stranded survivors will have to food, water and medical attention,” said Bard.

In addition to the helicopters, Lincoln’s air wing also consists of C-2 Greyhound carrier onboard delivery planes to carry cargo, E-2C Hawkeye aircraft to provide search and rescue, as well as F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighter attack aircraft.

“I believe our work here will play a large part in the ultimate recovery of those affected by this tragic event. We offer the hope that tomorrow will bring a better day,” Bard said.


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