Needs to Brush Up on Its Military Hardware

May 8th, 2008 12:46 PM

CNN has an article posted this AM about the on-going misery in Myanmar resulting from the recent cyclone that devastated the Irrawaddy delta and has left as many as 100,000 dead. The country's paranoid military dictatorship is hampering aid efforts, and as a result, is no doubt adding to the number of dead and injured.

In writing about the U.S. forces in the area poised to help if the dictatorship will only allow international aid, CNN makes the following curious claim (in bold):

The U.S has also been pushing for access, pledging $3.25 million and offering to send U.S. Navy ships to the region to help relief efforts.

The U.S. military had already flown six helicopters on to a Thai airbase, as Washington awaits permission to go into the south Asian country, two senior military officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.

In addition, several C-130 cargo aircraft aboard the USS Essex, which was conducting an exercise in the region, were available for relief missions.

That is one neat trick.

Essex is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. It is perhaps the most capable ship class in the world when it comes to providing help in the event of coastal disasters such as hurricane and cyclones due to its onboard 600-bed hospital, large helicopter contingent with search and rescue and transport capability, and well deck that houses LCACS and LCUs capable of landing heavy supplies and vehicles directly onto the beach. Essex is capable of a lot of things... but launching and landing a C-130 is not remotely among their capabilities.

Either Essex is merely being used to haul C-130s to the region that will have to be offloaded in port before being used, or CNN drastically has their story wrong. I suspect the former over the latter but you never know.

After all... "this is CNN."

Cross-posted to Confederate Yankee.