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U.S. Aircraft Carrier Leaves Tsunami Zone
New York Times ^ | February 3, 2005 | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Posted on 02/03/2005 1:12:25 PM PST by 68skylark

ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (AP) -- The U.S. aircraft carrier that led a massive tsunami relief operation steamed away from the disaster zone Thursday after a mission that helped repair America's bruised image in the world's most heavily populated Muslim nation.

The USS Abraham Lincoln, with a crew of 5,300, formed the core of the largest foreign military deployment in the area and the most extensive U.S. operation in Southeast Asia since the Vietnam War. Helicopters from the ship flew hundreds of missions to deliver food, water and other aid along the devastated western coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Its departure was the single biggest drawdown of the American relief effort.

U.S. officials said last month the emergency phase of the relief effort was ending and the military would gradually withdraw. About 5,000 of the 15,000 U.S. servicemen who had been deployed were pulled out last month. The Lincoln's departure will leave some 5,000 U.S. military personnel aboard other ships around Sumatra.

The ship headed for Singapore and was expected back in its home port of Everett, Wash., in mid-March.

``I'm glad to have been out here to help,'' said Craig Stark, a sailor from Memphis, Tenn. ``We did our time and did some good deeds for the people -- but it is great to go home.''

In Sumatra, survivors have welcomed the Americans warmly and greeted helicopter crews with broad smiles -- an attitude mirrored by government officials Thursday in a nation where many strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

``It is with deep appreciation that I say to all of you, 'Thank you for a great job, well done,''' Indonesia's Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab said at a shipboard ceremony. ``I am pleased that the government of Indonesia no longer needs the full complement of forces that were originally deployed.''

The long-term effect on U.S. political ties to Indonesia remains unclear, but the mission has certainly strengthened the hand of those who want to boost military relations.

The United States cut off ties with the Indonesian military in 1999 because of human rights concerns. The Bush administration, however, is keen to see the restrictions lifted, partly because of fears that al-Qaida may launch attacks from Indonesia, which has seen a string of deadly bombings in recent years.

U.S. Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe praised the military cooperation.

``We look forward to having much better relations with the military in the weeks and months to come, and we will certainly be working on that with them,'' he told reporters.

Pascoe declined to say whether he would recommend that Congress lift the ban.

In a visit to Indonesia last month, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz -- a former ambassador to the country -- said closer contact with the U.S. military would strengthen the Indonesian military's commitment to human rights and let it better respond to natural disasters.

Critics warned against turning a blind eye to accusations of widespread abuses by the Indonesian military. Congress has so far blocked moves to reopen ties, which were severed when Indonesian soldiers and militia proxies took part in bloody rampage that killed hundreds of people in East Timor following its vote for independence.

U.S. lawmakers maintain that the military has not improved its human rights record since then.

The departure of the Lincoln came as the death toll from the Dec. 26 disaster continued to rise. Indonesian workers cleaning up debris found 897 more bodies, the government said, raising the confirmed death toll in that country to at least 111,171. That put the overall death toll between 158,868 and 178,115. The number of missing ranges from 26,404 to 142,107 -- with most presumed dead.

Underscoring the difficulties in accounting for those missing after the disaster, the list of missing Swedes was trimmed to 523 by Sweden's National Police on Thursday. Three weeks ago, the figure was 1,900, but most were found either still in southern Asia or after returning home. Dozens of names were listed twice in the confusion.

The winding down of the American effort signaled the transition from relief operations to rehabilitation efforts. A health official said Thursday that precautions at the outset of the tsunami disaster in Indonesia prevented major outbreaks of infectious diseases.

``We have managed to prevent any major disease outbreak from affecting the tsunami-affected populations,'' David Nabarro, the top World Health Organization health crisis official, told reporters. ``We must remain vigilant.''

In another development, the tsunami survivor known as ``Baby 81'' and the Sri Lankan couple fighting a court battle to claim him were ordered to undergo DNA testing next Wednesday.

The judge also said he would consider ruling on the case much earlier than the April 20 date previously set, raising hopes of a quick resolution to the couple's agonizing custody battle.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: disasterrelief; shipmovement; usn; ussabrahamlincoln

050203-N-6020P-181 Indian Ocean (Feb. 3, 2005) - The Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) navigates alongside USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) after arriving on station near Banda Aceh, Sumamtra, Indonesia. Mercy has been forward deployed to assist in humanitarian aid efforts currently in progress. Mercy will serve as an enabling platform to assist humanitarian operations ashore in ways that host nations and international relief organization find useful. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has been operating in the Indian Ocean off the waters of Indonesia in support of Operation Unified Assistance the humanitarian relief effort to aid the victims of the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Gabriel R. Piper (RELEASED)

1 posted on 02/03/2005 1:12:25 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark
after a mission that helped repair America's bruised image in the world's most heavily populated Muslim nation

Such putzes.

2 posted on 02/03/2005 1:14:55 PM PST by grobdriver (Let the embeds check the bodies!)
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To: 68skylark

Glad they're out of there.


3 posted on 02/03/2005 1:19:20 PM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: 68skylark
The Navy posts a lot of photos from the Tsunami relief operation. I hope they'll keep doing this -- it's a great way to get a sense for what's happening. (It's a lot better than relying on our decrepit MSM!)

http://www.navy.mil/view_gallery.asp?category_id=60

4 posted on 02/03/2005 1:20:14 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: grobdriver

Is there anyone in this country stupid enopugh to believe this mercy mission repaired any bruised image these people have against us. This mission makes Americans feel good for having done what was right, as for helping our image with the muslims in Indo-nesia it was a great waste of time and money.


5 posted on 02/03/2005 1:21:09 PM PST by sgtbono2002
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To: 68skylark

good riddance to the poor Muslims.

The Euroweenie tourists will return to exploit the children.


6 posted on 02/03/2005 1:30:00 PM PST by Pondman88
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To: Conspiracy Guy
Glad they're out of there.

Oh yeah, it really bugs me that we've been helping people, including little kids, who have suffered great harm (end sarcasm).

050106-N-4166B-488 Lamno, Sumatra, Indonesia (Jan. 6, 2005) - A lone hand salute is rendered by an Indonesian child as a U.S. Navy helicopter lifts off after delivering food and water in Lamno, Sumatra, Indonesia. Helicopters assigned to Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) and Sailors from Abraham Lincoln are supporting Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian operation effort in the wake of the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is currently operating in the Indian Ocean off the waters of Indonesia and Thailand. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Jordon R. Beesley (RELEASED)

050119-N-9951E-067 Alue Bilie, Sumatra, Indonesia (Jan. 19, 2005) - Young girls salute in their best form for a photo taken at one of the camps located in the town of Alue Bilie, Aceh, for civilians displaced by the Dec. 26 tsunami. Teams from the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO), currently aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), are conducting surveys in the region of Aceh, Sumatra to determine the needs of the victims of the tsunami that struck South East Asia. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is currently operating in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Indonesia and Thailand in support of Operation Unified Assistance. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Elizabeth A. Edwards (RELEASED)

7 posted on 02/03/2005 1:31:39 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark

The ban on the US fighter pilots practicing is why I'm glad. I don't blame the people. I blame their government.


8 posted on 02/03/2005 1:37:31 PM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
I don't blame the people. I blame their government.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I also blame the government for lots of things (corruption, a badly run economy, etc). But I don't blame the people, exactly -- I certainly don't blame little kids.

9 posted on 02/03/2005 1:40:19 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark
But those little kids are moo-slime, therefore they're eeevil! We should have bombed them! Don't you get it? (/mocking_bigots)
10 posted on 02/03/2005 1:46:16 PM PST by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: Chemist_Geek
LOL!

Seriously, I've never been one of those "nuke 'em into glass" freepers, and I'm trying to cut down on my Muslim-bashing this year. I don't know the religion of the kids in the photos and I don't care -- I'm just glad we were able to help them out a little.

11 posted on 02/03/2005 1:49:25 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark
I'm just glad we were able to help them out a little.

I agree completely. The Marines have a saying - "No better friend, no worse enemy." I'm glad they are making that true, in Indonesia and Iraq.

12 posted on 02/03/2005 1:51:26 PM PST by Chemist_Geek ("Drill, R&D, and conserve" should be our watchwords! Energy independence for America!)
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To: 68skylark

At least here we can vote (except the little kids) so we can be to blame when we elect the wrong guy or don't vote and let others elect the wrong guy etc... There, I don't think the people have a choice.


13 posted on 02/03/2005 1:51:42 PM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
At least here we can vote...

I agree totally -- it's a precious and powerful right we have.

14 posted on 02/03/2005 1:58:55 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark

Thanks for posting the link. Very nice.


15 posted on 02/03/2005 2:01:25 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: 68skylark

I still can't believe how many Americans, don't vote. I have to vote just for complaining rights if nothing else.


16 posted on 02/03/2005 2:04:31 PM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: 68skylark
Well done to the great men and women of the USNS Mercy and the USS Abraham Lincoln !

Long Live the USA !

Hidup Indonesia !
17 posted on 02/03/2005 2:07:12 PM PST by Red Sea Swimmer (Tisha5765Bav)
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To: 68skylark
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED......

Once again!!!

18 posted on 02/03/2005 2:15:09 PM PST by OldFriend (America's glory is not dominion, but liberty.)
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To: 68skylark

Thanks for posting the navy military website. I've spent the past 10 minutes looking through it. My husband was stationed with the Navy in Norfolk, Virginia, and it still brings tears to my eyes to see the men standing watch on deck in their uniforms. It was also interesting to see the inside of the ships after all these years.


19 posted on 02/03/2005 2:15:40 PM PST by peacebaby ("...please refrain from impugning my integrity." Dr. Condoleezza Rice, 1/18/05)
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To: Red Sea Swimmer
Well done to the great men and women of the USNS Mercy and the USS Abraham Lincoln!

I don't know if this article was clear. The Mercy just arrived some time yesterday, I think. They might be at the start of a long deployment.

20 posted on 02/03/2005 2:22:26 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark

I wonder if they had to put up being shot at with bows and arrows like that one relief team did? Some tribes...


21 posted on 02/03/2005 2:22:36 PM PST by Pyroxene
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To: peacebaby
Thanks for posting the navy military website.

I'm glad to do that. Our folks out there are doing great work, and they deserve all the credit they can get.

22 posted on 02/03/2005 2:24:06 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark

What happened to all the UN blow hards that were staying on the Linclon.


23 posted on 02/03/2005 3:27:23 PM PST by jocko12
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To: Conspiracy Guy

There are a lot of people in Va. Beach that do not want our F-18's to practice at Oceana, right here in the good ole USA. The sound of freedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


24 posted on 02/03/2005 3:35:46 PM PST by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: jocko12
What happened to all the UN blow hards that were staying on the Linclon?

I think I know what you're referring to -- an anonymous email slamming UN relief workers on the USS Lincoln.

However, it now looks like that message may not be authentic, or at least it's not the last word on this topic.

For good overview of the situation, just click here (Instapundit) and follow the link.

I've got very little good to say about the UN, but I don't want them hammered on unfairly -- there's plenty of things the do that deserve a hammering.

25 posted on 02/03/2005 3:54:43 PM PST by 68skylark
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To: mariabush

I bet they don't get their way and wwe aren't there to provide disaster relief either are we! ; )


26 posted on 02/04/2005 4:28:41 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
If you mean disaster relief in Va, Beach, yes the Navy does provide help in hurricanes,etc.
27 posted on 02/04/2005 5:47:08 AM PST by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: mariabush

Of course they do. All branches get involved. But I was comparing the reasons behind the need to practice.


28 posted on 02/04/2005 5:52:09 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy

I am confused. Do you not think that our land based squadrons need to practice? When Bill Clinton was CIC and cut the military budget, some pilot's had to pay for fuel out of their own pockets just to keep up their air hours.


29 posted on 02/04/2005 6:03:09 AM PST by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: mariabush

I believe in Practice the more the better. The local governments in the Tsunami Zone prohibited the carrier from letting pilots practice. We should have left then.

Your comment about the whiners in VA Beach not liking the noise is true, but they practice anyway, thank goodness.


30 posted on 02/04/2005 6:11:27 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy

Agin the voice of FREEDOM!!!!!!!!


31 posted on 02/04/2005 6:13:36 AM PST by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: mariabush

I love to watch the Alabama Air National Guard F16's doing low level training over our hunting club in South Alabama. You can see the pilot's faces!


32 posted on 02/04/2005 6:19:41 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
Are you any where near Pensacola? Our children are being transfered from Oceana in a month or so.

Just wondering about the weather down there. We live in Memphis and it is not good here.
33 posted on 02/04/2005 6:30:44 AM PST by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: mariabush

I am in central Alabama and I fly the Brazilian flag on my home page as a joke. I know Pensacola like the back of my hand. They will love it there. My baby brother is a Doctor in Pensacola. If they need a great Family Practitioner let me know.


34 posted on 02/04/2005 6:35:19 AM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
Thanks, but they are Navy. If we are there visiting and need a DR. I will be sure to get your brother's name.

They are going to be stationed at NAS Pensacola, but are building a home in Foley, Alabama.
35 posted on 02/04/2005 3:45:21 PM PST by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: mariabush

Foley is nice.


36 posted on 02/04/2005 3:49:24 PM PST by Conspiracy Guy (Naked Mole Rats have feelings too. Be nice to them.)
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