On November 14, the US Navy Guided Missile Destroyer USS Sampson was on its way to Auckland to join the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy. But on hearing about the earthquake in the South Island, they immediately decided to bypass the Auckland celebrations and set sail instead for Kaikoura. Along with two embarked MH-60R helicopters from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73, they were able to quickly provide relief to the residents of the town.
Over the following days, the helicopters completed 14 ship to shore flights lifting 11,000 lbs. of equipment and supplies. Later, 26 sailors went ashore and assisted in establishing a food distribution center, assisted in the cleanup efforts, and engaged with the local residents to assess their needs.
At the conclusion of their mission, US ambassador to New Zealand Mark Gilbert, thanks the captain and crew of USS Sampson for their help to the people of Kaikoura.
Ships from the naval task group that had been providing assistance to quake-hit Kaikoura, at anchor in the harbor of the capital city of Wellington. The flotilla included the New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha and tanker HMNZS Endeavour, the US warship USS Sampson, Australia's HMAS Darwin and Canada's HMCS Vancouver.