3 Navy ships return to Hampton Roads from storm relief operations

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by Lucy Bustamante, 13News

Associated Press

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 7:43 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 12 at 6:20 PM

NORFOLK  -- Three Navy ships that supported storm relief efforts in New York and New Jersey came home Monday.

The amphibious ships USS Wasp and USS San Antonio arrived at Naval Station Norfolk on Monday and USS Carter Hall returned to Joint Expeditionary Base Little-Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach.

Chad Galvin was among the sailors and the marines who helped rebuild and de-water dozens of structures.

"It was very humbling. The news didn't do it justice. It was that bad," Galvin said.

Captain Timothy Spratto led the mission to work on homes and landmarks.

"We de-watered the Statue of Liberty, which is kind of fun, so they can get generators in there, so they can relight the statue of liberty.  They did it a few days ago," said Spratto.

They also helped repair the Hoboken Ferry Terminal and worked on private homes, pumping water out of many New York City basements.

Their biggest job was to give the US Coast Guard a temporary home. The Coast Guard lost all of their stations so the ships acted as buildings from where the Guard could do search and rescue work.

Sailors and Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit  also conducted emergency clearance and restoration efforts in Staten Island, N.Y., and New Jersey's Barrier Islands; dewatering efforts at Rockaway Beach, N.Y., Staten Island, Ellis Island, and at locations in the vicinity of the World Trade Center Memorial.

"This team had a short amount of time to plan, and execute the mission at hand. We came to help the people affected by Hurricane Sandy and we did an outstanding job at working with federal, state, and local authorities," stated Capt. Tim Spratto, commodore, Wasp Amphibious Ready Group. "Nobody can replace what the hurricane took away, I just hope our actions helped out those in need."

Many Navy personnel remain in the area, including Seabees from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 5 (NMCB-5) and Mobile Diving & Salvage Unit 2 (MDSU-2).

Associated Press also contributed to this story.

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