NORFOLK, Va. – The USS Iwo Jima returned to Naval Station Norfolk Monday after providing humanitarian relief in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew.
The ship deployed on October 8th with more than 500 Marines from the 24th Expeditionary Unit.
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The USS Iwo Jima relieved the Norfolk-based USS Mesa Verde which was sent to provide relief in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew.
Local officials in Haiti estimate the death toll from the storm has topped 1,000.
The USS Iwo Jima loaded 225 pallets of supplies including 800 cases of water to bring to Haiti.
"The Haitian people, as that relief came across I mean, very thankful, very grateful. They won’t forget the Sailors and Marines that delivered that stuff," Rear Admiral Roy Kitchener, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2 told News 3's Todd Corillo Monday.
Helicopters launched from the ship were used to bring aid to areas inaccessible by road.
PO2 Jake Glende, attached to HSC-28, was a crew member on the relief flights.
"It almost looked a forest fire because there was so much wind that blew the leaves off the trees and there was a lot of destruction. It was pretty rough," he related to Corillo.
Joint Task Force Matthew conducted 400 hours of flight operations and delivered more than 600,000 pounds of humanitarian relief supplies.
It's believed the aid mission directly impacted an estimated 100,000 Haitians.
USS Iwo Jima, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit deploy to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew