Snow Slows Local Sailors' Efforts in Japan

Poor weather conditions hampered San Diego based Sailors’ relief efforts in Japan on Wednesday.

The Black Knights Anti-Submarine helicopter squadron, assigned to aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, was only able to fly three supply missions delivering about seven tons of food and water.

The Reagan’s support ships, USS Chancellorsville and USS Preble, also coordinated more than a dozen supply missions. About eight tons of bottled water, cereal, milk, juice, fruit, medical supplies, clothing and blankets were delivered to disaster victims.

Both ships posted updates on their Facebook pages. 

The Command Master Chief (CMC) of USS Chancellorsville tried to calm nervous family members who were concerned a restriction on ship communications was a sign of trouble.

“There is nothing to worry about, our Sailors are great,” said the CMC who explained the clampdown was to keep the rumor mill under control.

The crew witnessed a rare moment as it worked overtime on relief operations.

“It is one of the first times for many that it is snowing at sea, hope you are enjoying the SoCal weather,” the CMC said.

Leadership with USS Preble used Facebook posts to address radiation contamination concerns.

“I want to assure you that the entire Preble Team is safe and healthy,” wrote Cdr Joe Cahill, the ship’s Commanding Officer.

One of the helicopters assigned to Preble tested positive for radioactivity. According to Cahill, the contamination was cleaned up with soap and water.

“We are closely monitoring spaces, both internal and external, and I have not seen any levels of radiation or contamination that would cause me to have any significant concerns,” he said in a message that was very similar to one posted by USS Reagan’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Thom Burke, on Monday.

The USS Preble contamination case is one of 17 detected among USS Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) crewmembers.

Navy leaders insist the low-level contamination is not a serious threat, but that’s done little to reassure the crewmembers’ anxious loved ones.

The Commander of Naval Air Forces (CNAF) is encouraging families to bring all of their questions to a town hall meeting at Naval Base Coronado Wednesday night, where he’ll give an update on the USS Ronald Reagan CSG’s mission in Japan.  The meeting starts at 7pm at the CNAF Auditorium, Bldg 8.

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