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USS Bataan

USS Bataan crest
USS Bataan [LHD-5]

As hurricane Katrina moved up the Gulf taking aim at New Orleans, Captain Nora Tyson and the crew of the USS Bataan were right behind it.

By coincidence this vessel, based in Norfolk, Virginia, was operating in the Gulf. Jo Fish might know of another class of US vessel that was better, but I can’t imagine anything more suited to aiding coastal cities.

The Bataan is a multipurpose amphibious assault ship. She was designed to support landing Marines on a shore. She has a flight deck for her helicopters and VTOL aircraft, she has amphibious landing craft, she has a 600-bed hospital, and she can generate 100,000 gallons of drinking water a day. Everything that was needed was there: food, water, medical care, transportation, communications, mobile generators, everything was on that ship and it arrived within range as Katrina hit New Orleans.

Northern Command, the area command for US operations, was ready to go. They put people on alert to leap into action. All they needed was the word from the President.

The helicopters from the Bataan rushed in with Coast Guard helicopters on search and rescue [SAR] missions, but no one was transferred to the hospital and none of her supplies was used in New Orleans.

At some point, someone in FEMA made the decision that the way to deal with New Orleans was to evacuate the city, so there was no need for supplies in the city. Not being clear on geography, that “no aid” decision was apparently applied to all of the parishes around New Orleans.

The Bataan was later shifted East and helped support operations on the Mississippi coast, but she could have held the patients from all of the hospitals and nursing homes in the area. She could have supplied water to the people of New Orleans and a lot of food. She could have saved a lot more people if she had been allowed to do what she was capable of doing.

I hope that the Navy and DoD are generous with awards for the vessel and her crew. They did their duty and would have done a lot more if they had been allowed.

September 17, 2005   Comments Off on USS Bataan

Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due

I’m sick of it! I keep hearing supposedly intelligent people saying that the Shrubbery deserves credit for accepting “responsibility” for the failed response. He hasn’t even apologized.


He is wasting money flying around the country staging photo ops while he should be in Washington getting things done. If he spent some time in the office, he might find out what was going on, and that goes for his entire administration. If his people can light Jackson Square in a few hours for a photo op, why didn’t they have lights in the SuperDome for days? Are those generators and the fuel to run them only available for photo ops?

He failed to call in the military. The military wasn’t used because of George W. Bush, not the laws.

Bush has maxed out his credit account. A minimal payment after years of abusing that account, doesn’t cut it. People raised his credit limit after September 11th, but he has been wasting it.

People died.

September 17, 2005   Comments Off on Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due