Navy Hosts Town Hall Meeting for Families of USS Reagan Sailors

As relief efforts continue, the Navy addresses safety concerns about radiation exposure in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Families of sailors on board the USS Ronald Reagan should plan to attend an informational meeting on Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at Naval Air Station North Island. The Coronado-based aircraft carrier and several members of the Carrier Strike Group were redirected to the northern coast of Japan after hit the region on Friday.

As reports of increased radiation from a troubled nuclear plant continue, families have expressed concern over the safety of their sailors. The meeting will address some of those concerns.

On Sunday, the Reagan's commanding officer, Capt. Thom Burke, reported via Facebook that very low levels of radioactivity were found on 17 sailors, all of whom were treated.

"We promptly took the proper precautions and the radioactivity was easily removed by using soap and water,'' Burke wrote. "The levels that were detected were very low levels.''

Since then, no new cases of increased radiation exposure have been reported, said Lt. Cmdr. John Perkins of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii.

For now, the aircraft carrier is going to stay outside a certain range and will move based on the weather and wind patterns, Perkins explained.

“That’s the great thing about the Navy,” he said. “We have flexibility and mobility, and we can move depending on certain circumstances.”

Perkins emphasized, “The first priority is for the safety of our servicemen and women.”

He said they are taking the proper precautions to preserve the safety of the sailors and to continue the relief efforts in the area.

As for the increased concern over the Navy’s pilots, who may be in closer proximity to the radiation than the sailors on the ships, Perkins said they are watching the weather conditions and making decisions on a case-by-case basis.

“We are not looking to send these guys into a known area with contamination,” he said.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m. in Building 8, also known as the Commander Naval Air Forces (CNAF) auditorium.  

The USS Ronald Reagan on Feb. 2 and was headed for routine deployment in the Western Pacific and Arabian Sea.

To check out the Reagan’s Facebook page, click here.

Chris Morrow March 17, 2011 at 05:31 PM
How did the meeting go?


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