USS Sampson – Kaikoura Earthquake Disaster Recovery Assistance.

From stuff.co.nz – America has come to Kaikoura – and they’re lending a hand to quake-hit locals.

Sailors from the warship USS Sampson had arrived to help out as recovery efforts gathered steam in the town, which bore the brunt of a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday.

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An interview with CDR Tim LaBenz, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson in Kaikoura, where the USS Sampson is assisting the New Zealand Defence Force with the earthquake relief efforts:

Approximately 20 members of the Sampson crew flew ashore to assist the New Zealand forces leading the recovery efforts. Sailors with backgrounds in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, damage control, and medical treatment departed in waves onboard the ship’s helicopters from Sampson’s flight deck, eager to lend a hand.

“Sampson’s Sailors and I joined the other civil and multi-national forces ashore, and divided into groups that had a specified purpose,” said Lt. Lee Shewmake, Chief Engineer aboard Sampson, and the officer who led U.S. Sailors ashore during relief efforts. “While some Sailors set up a food distribution center in an elementary school, others delivered toilets with self-contained sewage systems to homes without plumbing to alleviate the sewage issue.”

Shewmake also sent some of his Sailors door-to-door with informational pamphlets to help residents understand what services are available to them.

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