A TEAM OF RECONNAISSANCE MARINES MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN BANGLADESH

By: Jennifer Larson

It was on December 7, 2007 when my husband HM2 Eric J. Larson surrounded by welcoming villagers as he surveys the area for potential landing areas for U.S. military helicopters. HM2 Eric J Larson, a special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman and five Reconnaissance Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit took part in relief efforts to help out the victims affected from the tropical cyclone Sidr on Bangladesh’s southern coast. HM2 Larson and the Recon Marines were on a seven month deployment on the USS Tarawa, an amphibious assault ship that was on its way to the Western Pacific Ocean and the Arabian Gulf. While at sea, the Tarawa was called upon to help with relief effort. The Bangladesh people were in need of water, food, and medical treatment which the USS Tarawa could provide. In order for that to happen all the military commands on the ship had to be sure that the area was safe and accessible to bring over the supplies. That is when they assigned HM2 Larson and his five men team on a mission to verify and locate safe landing zones where the CH46E Sea Knight and the CH53E Super Stallion helicopters could Devastation from tropical cyclone Sidrland and drop off the supplies for their part of the humanitarian relief. The reason for this mission is that the cyclone caused extensive damage in the area, all the head command had on the ship was a map with coordinates to match to what was on the ground. That map did not know exactly where or how bad the damage was and if the helicopters can actually land there. Verification had to be made that the landing zones were not flooded or have a large mass of debris in the way. In order for them not to stand out while surveying the landing zones they dressed in civilian attire as if they were a tourist with their Another photo of the devastation...digital cameras, maps, and equipment from them to stay in contact with the ship. The Bangladesh people were very excited to see the American soldiers and wanted to do anything on their part to help out with the relief efforts. Some even volunteered to guide Eric and the five Recon Marines by taking them on ferries and driving through small backed up city streets, village roads, and even on pontoon boats going across several rivers to get to some perfect landing sites. After establishing the landing sites, the mission was a success. HM2 Eric Larson and the five Recon Marines felt great satisfaction knowing that they were helping innocent people who went through such a horrific ordeal. More pictures of the humanitarian effort are provided below. Enjoy!

A TEAM OF RECONNAISSANCE MARINES MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN BANGLADESH - Nutrition for the World

  • CH46E Sea Knight delivering supplies from the USS Tarawa
A TEAM OF RECONNAISSANCE MARINES MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN BANGLADESH - Nutrition for the World
  • The CH53E Super Stallion
A TEAM OF RECONNAISSANCE MARINES MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR THE PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN BANGLADESH - Nutrition for the World
  • The many natives of Bangladesh. Happy to receive help from the U.S. military.

More pages