Mon, 3 Jan 2005 11:39:23 +0700
Yesterday and today was a busy day. A lot of bodies were recovered and
we are in the process of putting teams together to hit the beach again
today. Debris is everywhere even 2 miles off the beach. We passed 4
floating TV's, couches, beds, dishes, clothing. It was like the entire
town was pulled into the sea. We had a lot of problems when landing the
helos in remote villages when people, starving and scared, rushed the
helos for food. The pilots had no chance for safety to immediately take
off, so they dropped the food while hovering. Our entire Medical unit
went in today, except one Doctor to help with the sick and injured.
Everyone onboard has spent every last penny of their own pay depleting
the ships store of food, clothing, water, batteries to donate to shore.
Hell, even care packages from home are being given to send to the beach
to help with these problems. Today's youth has put on an impressive
display the last couple of days with the sacrifices they have made. They
are giving everything they have to these people. Lack of sleep and a
drive to make a difference are what I have seen. The families of these
kids should be proud of what I see. Dealing with death and disaster is
not easy and some of the things we have witnessed would humble the
strongest of most, but they keep going. Americas finest is showing true.
Everyone is safe as far as disease is concerned. We get shots each day.
The ones of us going to the beach have been taking Malaria pills, which
we will be required to take for a while after we leave. We go in early
in the morning, but because of logistics we have to leave before
nightfall. We do as much as we can, but more is needed. More ships in
our fleet are on the way here, but they are out a ways. We were the
first ones here and have been operating solo until this morning when the
Indonesian Navy came through. The Chaplains have been doing defusing on
us as we return from the beach to help reduce Post traumatic syndrome.
Everyone wants to stay ashore and have a hard time leaving with the
people watching us leave. It is hard because they are always happy to
see us and most cry and just hold on to you for comfort. Right now the
Captain said that only 20% of the population where we are survived. I
know the news has been saying 94,000 have perished, but it is much more
than that. Illnesses have started to break out and people that were
already sick have been dying. Those injured are getting sicker. Our
Doctors and medical team have been doing the best they can to stop it
and have saved quite a few. We only hope for all to pull through, but it
is going to be tough to stop. I am going to get some rest and wait to
get called. We have 11 helos operating right now and once the rest of
the fleet gets here we will have much more. About 1,600 out of the 6,000
crew members are being utilized for support ashore. I will email more as
it comes up. Dan Rather flew onboard this morning and is staying on
board to cover the story. Everything is being done that can be done. The
rest is up to a more powerful force than us. Well, that's all for now.
Take care all.
Brian BMC(SW) BRIAN A. CISSELL DECK DEPARTMENT / 1st DIVISION LCPO USS
ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72)