Originally scheduled to participate in the Royal New Zealand Navy’s International Naval Review commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy, USS Sampson (DDG 102) is instead supporting earthquake recovery efforts in New Zealand.

Sampson was already transiting the Western Pacific when it altered course to join the New Zealand-led task force efforts. Sampson’s visit to New Zealand is the first in 30 years for a U.S. Navy ship.

KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Petty Officer First Class Hadley Dykes, left, surveys the landing area from a MH-60R Sea Hawk from the Battle Cats of Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) squadron 73, attached to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Petty Officer First Class Hadley Dykes, left, surveys the landing area from a MH-60R Sea Hawk from the Battle Cats of Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron 73, attached to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Seaman Jordan Russell surveys the coastline from a MH-60R Sea Hawk from the Battle Cats of Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron 73, attached to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Seaman Jordan Russell surveys the coastline from a MH-60R Sea Hawk from the Battle Cats of Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron 73, attached to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz, commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), receives a traditional greeting from New Zealand parliament member the Hon. Ron Mark. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz, commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), receives a traditional greeting from New Zealand parliament member the Hon. Ron Mark. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz (middle) commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), speaks with New Zealand parliament member the Hon. Ron Mark (left) before a humanitarian aid brief. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz (middle) commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), speaks with New Zealand parliament member the Hon. Ron Mark (left) before a humanitarian aid brief. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz (middle) commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), speaks with Royal New Zealand, Australian and Canadian Navy officers during a humanitarian aid brief. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz (middle) commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), speaks with Royal New Zealand, Australian and Canadian Navy officers during a humanitarian aid brief. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz, commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), speaks with New Zealand Defense Force media after a humanitarian aid brief. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)
KAIKOURA, New Zealand (Nov. 17, 2016) Cmdr. Timothy LaBenz, commanding officer of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), speaks with New Zealand Defense Force media after a humanitarian aid brief. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Jackson/Released)

 

WHENUAPAI, New Zealand (Nov. 15, 2016) Lt. j.g. Shane Lewis, with the Golden Swordsmen of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47, examines a chart of New Zealand with an airman from the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The VP-47 crew and their U.S. Navy P-3C Orion aircraft are assisting in life-saving efforts after the Nov. 13 earthquakes on the South Island of New Zealand. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g Kyle Burdick/Released)
WHENUAPAI, New Zealand (Nov. 15, 2016) Lt. j.g. Shane Lewis, with the Golden Swordsmen of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47, examines a chart of New Zealand with an airman from the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The VP-47 crew and their U.S. Navy P-3C Orion aircraft are assisting in life-saving efforts after the Nov. 13 earthquakes on the South Island of New Zealand. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g Kyle Burdick/Released)

Also, a P-3C Orion assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 was participating in Exercise Mahi Tangaroa as part of the New Zealand International Naval Review when the earthquake occurred, and was tasked with assessing the area surrounding Kaikoura, New Zealand.

During its five-hour mission Nov. 15, the VP-47 aircrew – accompanied by two Royal New Zealand Air Force airmen – identified impassable roads covered in debris. Additionally, they assessed bridges that were cracked and buckling due to damage by the earthquake.

“Both our aircrew and our aircraft maintainers understand the urgency of these missions and are working around the clock to provide maritime patrol and humanitarian support to the people of New Zealand.”
– Cmdr. Jim Imlah
Executive officer, VP-47