Whitney Davis on humanitarian aid and civil assistance mission
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago – Leaving your job behind to spend months on a ship cruising the Atlantic to tropical, remote Caribbean locations is an ideal vacation dream for many of us. For the daughter and granddaughter of two Brandenburg residents, the scene became reality when she boarded a Navy amphibious assault ship on a mission of bringing humanitarian aid and civil assistance to people in need.
Navy Seaman Whitney A. Davis, daughter of Marry M. Davis and granddaughter of Kenneth D. Davis, both of Old Weldon Road, Brandenburg, was one of more than 1,400 service members aboard the USS Kearsarge in support of Continuing Promise 2008, a four-month deployment to provide health care services and infrastructure improvements to the people of Nicaragua, Columbia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.
Davis is normally assigned to the USS Kearsarge at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.
Working alongside partner nation officials, Davis and her fellow shipmates delivered veterinary services, provided general and special surgical care, primary care for children and adults, dental care, assistance in setting up local public health systems, immunizations, food, water, and sewage systems assessments. Engineer teams provided construction and renovation assistance, while demonstrating the U.S. commitment to develop solutions and foster lasting bonds of friendships with the countries that they visited.
“I have been taking part in the community relation projects by delivering food and supplies, helping build schools, playgrounds and the like,” said Davis, who graduated in 2007 from Meade County High School.
The partnership of Davis and the other service members on board, along with other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations like Project Hope and Operation Smile, enhanced the crew’s ability to bring the much-needed care to the people of these Caribbean countries. It also allowed Davis the opportunity to gain valuable job and life experiences. “I haven’t gotten much military training from the mission, but the experience of visiting so many countries is priceless,” she said.
Visiting these various countries, lush with palm trees, tropical plants and flowers and pristine beaches, has provided Davis a chance to see and experience how people live in other parts of the world.
“The people who have visited us on the ship were very nice,” said Davis.
Amid the lush tropical beauty, Davis and her fellow service members found areas of abject poverty, far removed from the world most vacationers ever see.
“Nicaragua definitely made a lasting impression on me. The people didn’t have much, but they were happy as can be for what they did have,” Davis said.
Although traveling to the various countries was an adventure, the experience of sleeping in berths, being transported by helicopter or landing craft unit to the inland each day, and just living in general on the 844-foot-long USS Kearsarge, was a new experience for some, and just routine for others.
“Being on the Kearsarge has been challenging to say the least, but very rewarding, too,” said Davis.
For Davis, who has been in the military for more than a year, and those men and women serving with her, cruising the Caribbean will provide a promise of hope that will leave a lasting impression on those most in need.