USNS Bowditch Clears the Way
USNS Bowditch Clears the Way
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd
Class Shannon Heavin, Commander, Task Force 70 Public Affairs.
Philippine Sea -- November 17, 2013 -- (NNS)
-- USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) was first on scene off the coast of Tacloban,
Republic of the Philippines, ensuring safe sea lanes in order for the George
Washington Strike Group (GWSG) to assist the Third Marine Expeditionary Brigade
in support of Operation Damayan.
Class Oceanographic Survey Ship, USNS Bowditch
Bowditch serves as an oceanographic sampling and data
collection of surface, mid-water and ocean floor parameters. When a significant
storm event passes through an area, surveys of this nature are required to
confirm bottom features and identify navigational hazards. She has been
performing acoustical, biological, physical and geophysical surveys of the
effected area since right after the Super Typhoon.
"Bowditch has been a fantastic member of the Strike Group
because in the wake of a major disaster like this, especially in an area that is
known for shifting sands, it's important that we get a very accurate description
of the topographic levels of the ocean so that we can safely place our
relief-assistance ships, typically the amphibious ships as they get close to
shore," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, GWSG. "Bowditch was nearly
first on scene and has been working the Leyte Gulf aggressively, and she'll be
wrapping up in the next 24 to 36 hours. A very impressive work ethic displayed
by Bowditch has contributed significantly to the overall success of the maritime
component of this disaster relief mission."
Bowditch gathered data that provided much of the military's
information on the ocean environment, which in turn, stabilized the safety and
mission of Sailors and servicemen. The ship's success lies in the multi-beam
contour mapping system, and wide-angle side-scan sonar systems, which
continuously collect data over a broad strip of ocean floor. Bowditch also
employs two Hydrographic Survey Launches, small boats that use single and
multi-beam echo-sounders and streamed side-scan sonar systems to collect data in
very shallow regions. The waters close to the shoreline tend to have the most
significant changes in the ocean bottom due to shifted debris and bottom
features. However, relief efforts depend heavily on proximity to the shore to
get supplies to where they need to go.
"Bowditch has already provided charted data of safe navigable
channels and identified new hazards that will prove invaluable in the relief
efforts that have and will continue to occur in the region," said Lt. Cmdr. Mark
Murnane, GWSG's naval oceanographer.
Bowditch is operated by the Military Sealift Command for the
Naval Oceanographic Office, a component of the Naval Meteorology and
Oceanography Command headquartered at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
Bowditch is one of six Pathfinder-class ships with an all-civilian crew of
professional mariners and scientific support personnel. With a 329 foot length
and a 58 foot beam, the ship displaces 4,762 long tons.
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