[Admin note: this came to our CEO – if you know of anyone who would like to post a dispatch from Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, Libya, or elsewhere, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
An online friend I’ve nicknamed DoT posted this email from Ensign Margaret Morton, USNA ’10 aboard USS Mustin (DDG 89). The ship’s mission this week is to provide relief to the stricken near Sendai. She provides details of the situation from her vantage point:
Dear friends and family, I am in complete amazement. The number of recipients of this e-mail has grown exponentially, and I quite literally have received replies from people all over the world. I have shared your thoughts and prayers with my sailors and they appreciate the support as much as I do. I am writing to give a second update on the events off the coast of Sendai.
I stood watch this morning from 2-7 am, carefully maneuvering through the darkness so as not to hit half submerged cargo boxes and overturned boats. To add to the challenge, our visibility decreased from about 8 miles to less than one in a matter of minutes as we entered into a blizzard. And if that wasn’t enough, we still are remaining cautious of the radiation hazard a couple hundred miles away and feeling various aftershocks. In my Captain’s words, “You couldn’t write this stuff.” Every day has been an adventure.
Today our helo was vectored off to an isolated hospital with SOS showing on the rooftop. This hospital contained over 200 patients still alive and in desperate need of supplies. We delivered food, water, clothing, and blankets. The pilots are about to make a final run for the day right now and are calling for any last things we can bear to give up. I managed to grab another jacket from my closet and my old UGGÂ boots. I figure I don’t need much more than coveralls and a pair of blackÂ bootsÂ to live on a ship.
A major concern for us out here on the water is the people we left behind. The Navy has around 25,000 people living in the Yokosuka area. As a preemptive measure, they have just begun voluntary evacuation of families from Japan due to the uncertainty of the nuclear plants and the potential for the winds to shift and spread radiation to the south. They also are feeling the many aftershocks from the initial earthquake, including a six that occurred just across Tokyo Bay from the base. For me, I only have to worry about the state of myÂ household goods, for most of my sailors, they have a lot more on the line.
Please keep all of these people affected in your prayers, from those suffering from injury and loss, to those isolated, yet struggling to survive, and finally for the Sailors and their families who want to help, but must care for their own at the same time.
Many of you have asked how you can help and for now, I don’t have much information as we are only doing what we can from the ship. However, people from our ship are donatingÂ moneyÂ to the American Red Cross who has been working with the Japanese Red Cross to tailor to their specific needs. I will try to find a point of contact in Japan that can provide more information on donations.
Again, thank you for your support, your prayers, yourÂ pictures, and the notes you have sent. I am very thankful to have such an awesome group of people to lift me up. Love