PACIFIC OCEAN - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) donated humanitarian aid supplies while at sea east of the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan, March 26.
Fitzgerald conducted a replenishment-at-sea with USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7) and took on 30 pallets stocked with humanitarian aid supplies such as blankets, food and water, hygiene products, medicine and warm clothing to donate to the population hit hardest by the disaster. Fitzgerald also held a charity drive where crew members could donate necessary items to the people of Sendai.
“The whole idea for our own charity drive was that everybody wanted to give, and this was the perfect opportunity,” said Lt. j.g. Elizabeth Claxton, Fitzgerald’s assistant supply officer. “While we did receive several pallets of humanitarian aid from [Carl Brashear] to send to the people of Japan, our crew wanted to take a more direct approach and donate some of their own personal effects to those in need.”
The crew set up boxes in the ship’s store and mess decks where Sailors could donations to the survivors.
“Our ship store also has a full stock of toiletries, socks and T-shirts, and perishable food that Sailors could purchase to donate to the people of Sendai,” said Claxton. “The charity drive was amazing. We’ve had Sailors spend 50 dollars at the ship store for things that they wanted to donate, and overall the crew purchased over 1,500 dollars worth of donations. Considering that the people who purchased items for donation at the ship store was the minority compared to Sailors who donated their own belongings, this really is a testament to this crew’s dedication to the people of Japan.”
“This really was a wonderful idea, and I am only too proud to help out,” said Senior Chief Fire Controlman Daniel Bowen, a Sailor aboard Fitzgerald that donated blankets and several items of clothing. “I’ve lived in Japan for nine years, and I’ve since fallen in love with this country’s culture and people. I am truly proud to help out to repay the Japanese people for their kindness.”
Fitzgerald, the flagship of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, is at sea providing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to Japan as directed in support of Operation Tomodachi. Other ships from DESRON 15 assisting with humanitarian efforts in Japan include USS Curtiss Wilbur (DDG 54), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Mustin (DDG 89).