Navy Petty Officer First Class Jeremy Wilson said he thinks of his own three children, safe at home, when he contemplates the plight of Haitians flown aboard his Navy ship off the coast of Haiti.
One by one, the people are being patched up for injuries suffered in the Jan. 12 earthquake and then sent back ashore, said Wilson, a native of Lorain and a 1997 graduate of Clearview High School.
In a telephone interview from aboard his ship, Wilson said the wounded landed on the USS Nassau’s deck via helicopter and are taken back to shore the same way.
“It’s a huge mission; we’ve brought on 10 to 15 patients and they all come through my flight deck,” said Wilson, 30. “They brought in a mother and she had a little boy with her who had no leg.”
On another day, a mother was reunited with her newborn who was taken to the ship in a box and stabilized.
The Haitians appear to be “beat and exhausted” from the quake and resulting shortages of food and water, Wilson said.
“That’s when it sinks in — it’s a mission — you see it and it’s live, and it hits you in the face,” Wilson said. “We’re doing a lot of good for the people and making steady progress.”
When he saw the boy who lost his leg, Wilson immediately thought of his young children, Jonathan, 10, Brendan, 8, and Madison, 5, who are safe at home in Virginia Beach with his wife, Yvette.
Wilson is an aviation boatswain’s mate responsible for the handling, launching and recovery of jets and helicopters. His mother, Brenda Tony, lives in Lorain.
He said the sailors are on duty for 12, 14 or even 16 hours a day.
But on Sunday, sailors who are not on duty will get a special treat when Super Bowl activities are planned, Wilson said.
Wilson joined the Navy in 2000 and previously has served on several missions to the Persian Gulf lasting from four to seven months.
The Nassau, which has about 1,000 sailors, is deployed as part of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group/24th Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of Operation Unified Response, the humanitarian aid/disaster relief mission in Haiti.
The mission is comprised of embarked Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and involves the Nassau, a multipurpose amphibious assault ship, as well as the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.