ABOARD THE USS BATAAN—A second earthquake in Haiti provided a rude wake-up call to another busy day for sailors aboard the Norfolk-based USS Bataan.
By lunchtime, the versatile amphibious assault ship had sent out a helicopter to assess damage and had taken on additional casualties from last week's 7.0 magnitude quake that has killed thousands.
More help from Hampton Roads is on the way: The Navy is sending ships and the Army will rush an additional unit that isbased at Fort Eustis and currently training in Florida.
Today's 6.1 quake was centered about 35 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It happened at 6:03 a.m. and a strong aftershock sent a shudder through the ship's decks about three minutes later.
The ship was not damaged, but the shock was strong enough that Capt. Sam Howard initially feared the ship had run aground.
A quick check showed that had not hit bottom and when the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson reported the same thing, it was clear what had happened.
Around noon, Navy and Coast Guard helicopters began landing on the Bataan's flight deck, bearing severalinjured people.The Bataan has medical facilities that are second only to the Navy's massive, floating hospital ships.
Fort Eustis already has units and soldiers in Haiti, and it will send more. Three LCU's, or Landing Craft Utility vessels from the 97th Transportation Company, 10th Transportation Batallion, have been diverted from a training mission off the Florida coast to support the relief effort.
LCU's, which transport cargo to the shore, are already flexing their muscle in Haiti, and the Eustis units will add to that transport capability.
Other soliders from Fort Eustis in Haiti are the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element and the 544th Engineer Dive Team.
More than 4,000 sailors and Marines from the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit have been ordered to Haiti.
That includes the USS Nassau, an amphibious assault ship, the amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland.