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Three U.S. warships heading to Northeast for possible post-Irene aid

By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
  • Three Navy ships should be in position on Monday to aid in Irene relief efforts
  • No official orders have been issued for the ships to assist
  • The three can provide helicopters and floating landing craft
  • One of the ships is the USS New York -- built with steel from the debris of the Twin Towers

Aboard The Uss Wasp (CNN) -- The Navy is sending three amphibious ships towards the New York and New England region in anticipation that the ships may be called upon to assist civilian authorities responding to Hurricane Irene, according to a spokesman for the Navy on the USS Wasp.

The Wasp, according to Lt. Cmdr. Jim Krohne, will be joined by the USS Oak Hill and the USS New York -- a ship built in part with steel from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Now the ship-born-of-a-man-made-tragedy is prepared to help its namesake city respond to a natural disaster.

The three ships are all capable of providing helicopters and floating landing craft for a wide array of humanitarian response, including search-and-rescue, road and debris clearing, emergency communications, emergency medical support, and even an air-traffic control if needed.

Krohne said the three ships -- part of a larger unit called Amphibious Task Force 26 -- are expected to arrive off the Northeast coast on Monday. They will be able to start flying aid in as the ships get within 120 miles from the area they would be helping.

But the whole mission is still a matter of preparedness, because no official orders have been given to the Navy to start having the ships join the relief effort.

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