Navy ships and Hurricane Katrina

A collection of stories about Hurricane Katrina vs. the United States Navy. (Some of these links lead to various versions of the same releases. Many of them lead to specific stories on the ship(s) listed).

In Katrina’s path:

USS Alabama (BB 60, ret.): Listing 8 degrees to port after her memorial park was devastated. This is pretty significant, as the ship actually sits on the bottom. The storm moved it. 18 park employees and their families rode out the storm aboard the ship and were stranded there. The park’s aircraft pavilion was more or less wiped out, but the USS Drum submarine was undamaged. More here. Donald Sensing has a pic of TV news coverage.

USS Kidd (DDG 100): The new guided missile destroyer, nearing completion at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., received a 4-foot gash in her hull but it was quickly repaired.

USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98): Also in Pascagoula but undamaged, the Navy has offered the destroyer as an operations center as the yard works to get back to work.

USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29) and USS John L. Hall (FFG 32): These two frigates set sail on the 26th to avoid the storm.

USS San Antonio (LPD 17): Also at the same yard, this nearly-finished amphibious assault ship was being used to provide food and shelter to Naval and contractor personnel.

Aiding the relief effort:

USS Bataan (LHD 5): This amphibious assault ship was in the Gulf and rode out the storm, then moved toward New Orleans. Her helicopters were among the first to begin plucking stranded residents out of harm’s way. Follow the link for a great story. However, the crew isn’t doing as much as they could, and they are eager for more. The captain says “But I can’t force myself on people.” There are apparently a lot of military units waiting to be called on to do more.

USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75): The carrier loaded up on fuel and will take aboard 30 to 40 Navy and Army helicopters to support relief operations. The Truman’s crew wants to match or exceed the 90 missions a day that the USS Lincoln ran during tsunami relief in Indonesia. As we saw after the tsunami, the capability to generate 400,000 gallons of fresh water per day is a great asset.

Swift (HSV 2): The high-speed catamaran transport has also been dispatched to the area. Seems to me that the Swift’s ability to navigate shallow water will be a major asset in the operations.

USNS Comfort (T-AH 20): This hospital ship with 250 beds will serve as a floating medical facility and headquarters and supply station for additional medical personnel. She’s sailing from Baltimore and won’t arrive until the 8th.

USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), USS Shreveport (LPD 12), and USS Tortuga (LSD 46): This expeditionary strike group will arrive in the area on Sunday from Norfolk, Virgina. (Link updated to a more informative story.)

USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8): This fast combat support ship from the Iwo Jima group is already in the area supporting the naval vessels on station.

USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41): Air-cushioned LCAC amphibious transports can operate off of this landing ship (dock), just like her sister the Tortuga in the Iwo Jima group. The DHS release linked to here says the Whidbey Island “will bring with it the capability to employ a movable causeway to the region” though I don’t know what this means. (UPDATE: WoC commenter EagleSpeak says this is the JLOTS. Great find!)

USS Grapple (ARS 53): This salvage and rescue ship brings divers, rescue equipment, and lifting and towing capabilities.

USNS Mercy (T-AH 19): The Comfort’s sister ship was not originally going to be deployed, but plans changed and the hospital ship, a veteran of tsunami relief, will now arrive around the 21st from San Diego.


HMCS Athabaskan, HMCS Ville de Quebec, HMCS Toronto, and the CCGS Sir William Alexander: These Canadian ships (a destroyer, two frigates, and a coast guard icebreaker/tender) form “Operation Union” and will bring helicopters, divers, and tons of relief supplies to the area.

USNS Pollux (T-AKR 290): According to a comment at NRO, this fast sealift ship is “operating onboard dialysis equipment for the patients of a local hospital, providing diesel fuel for area hospitals’ generators, and providing meals and berthing to relief workers”. I’ve been unable to find any news reports about it, though the comment makes it sound like the ship might be in port. Exactly where is not clear. Anyone with more info is welcome to send it in.

USNS Bellatrix (T-AKR 288), USNS Altair (T-AKR 291), USNS Pililaau (T-AKR 304), USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300), and USNS Algol (T-AKR 287): These vessels, fast sealift ships and roll on/roll off ships, have been transferred from the Military Sealift Command to the 2nd Fleet to support Joint Task Force Katrina.

USS Gladiator (MCM 11), USS Scout (MCM 8), USS Cormorant (MHC 57), and USS Defender (MCM 2): These ships based at Naval Station Ingleside, TX, will use their mine hunting capabilities to locate and clear underwater obstacles. (The link is to a page that requires free subscription and doesn’t really provide much more info.)

I’m sure that there are and will be more ships involved. If you have any info, email me or post it in the comments section and I’ll try to update the post.

Also posted at Winds of Change, where I will be posting once a week or so on military matters.


  1. The DHS release linked to here says the Whidbey Island ‘will bring with it the capability to employ a movable causeway to the region’ though I don’t know what this means. Wouldn’t that be a portable bridge?