Concern is growing for crew members on the USS Ronald Reagan as it continues relief efforts in Japan despite crew members' exposure to radiation.
Video:Families Of USS Ronald Reagan Crew Remain Concerned
Emotional photos show the men and women of the USS Reagan as they continue relief efforts in the devastated areas of Japan. One photo shows a USS Reagan crew member hugging a Japanese citizen who was left stranded by the tsunami. Another photo shows Naval Air Crewman 1st Class Zachary Webb, who is from San Diego, delivering much needed supplies.
Back in San Diego, many residents with loved ones aboard the carrier remain concerned.
The Navy held a town hall meeting on Wednesday for family of crew members on the USS Reagan to calm any and all concerns.
Family members were told, "The Navy is doing everything it can to keep service members safe while serving the people of Japan."
"Unfortunately, this isn't a good circumstance. It's a new circumstance. We've never dealt with anything like this before," said Annie Powell, whose husband Chris is one of about 3,000 crew members aboard the USS Reagan. "I think it'd be crazy to say there is no concern at all
I know military leadership has our service members' health and safety at their top priority."
Powell said her some of her concerns were eased after Vice Adm. Allen Myers, commander of Naval Air Forces and Naval Air Force U.S. Pacific Fleet answered questions and addressed her and more than a hundred others at Wednesday's meeting, which was closed to the media.
"It definitely puts us at ease and we had not only [the] vice admiral but there [were] medical personnel
like the big people in charge out there letting us know everything is ok," she said.
Many others are turning to the USS Reagan's Facebook page for updates and words of encouragement. On the page, one man wrote, "I am confident that the Navy will keep my son safe, he is in your hands."
So far, 17 helicopter crew members have tested positive for low levels of radioactivity. They washed with soap and water and the contamination was no longer detected. The Navy said the radiation was less than someone would receive in a month of exposure to natural radiation, such as the sun.
"I think it's important to note the contamination levels were very, very low and actually nothing more than you'd find after constant exposure to the sun for 30 days," Navy Lt. Anthony Falvo told 10News by phone.
On Tuesday, the carrier sailed further out to sea to get out of the range of radioactive waste.
"The [USS] Ronald Reagan right now
she's moved 180 nautical miles north of the Fukushima plant but
we're still running humanitarian assistance and [our] disaster relief mission," said Falvo.
Officials said they expect that air crew members will continue to be exposed to low levels of radiation. The Navy is now telling helicopter crews to keep their sleeves rolled down and cabin windows closed.
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