NORFOLK, Va. — While the US Navy is in charge of protecting the waters we navigate, they can also help people after a natural disaster. They do this using what looks like a hovercraft.
The proper name is a Landing Craft Air Cushion or an LCAC. Its main purpose is to bring Marines and other service members to missions.
"My job is pretty unique," said Raechel Tate, a Quarter Master First Class in the Navy. "It's a giant fan boat.
Tate is from Deltona, Florida, and is a navigator on the LCAC.
"It actually hovers on the water, which is why I called it a fan boat because we’re just gliding and hovering on the water," she said.
The LCAC inflates and is powered by the fans behind the hovercraft. When it hits the land, it'll deflate.
The Florida native says an LCAC can respond to natural disasters, such as a hurricane in Florida.
"If it were to devastate Florida, LCACs have the capability to come up on land and bring supplies and help people with medical and evacuations," Tate explained. "If we needed to transport people, these seats actually flip up."
Tate has helped out after a hurricane in the Bahamas in 2019, though she has never come to Florida for a natural disaster. However, she says she stands ready.
"I'm able to help bring them supplies, evacuate people, help wherever I can. That's my state," she said. "We would more than likely put pallets on our boat and cover them up with cargo nets, so it’s secured on there."
It's her state, which has a deeper meaning.
"It's a little emotional for me. My family's still in Florida, everyone in my family is in Florida," Tate said.
Her brother is also in the Coast Guard and he's stationed in Clearwater.
She's 700 miles from home and hopes to be stationed back there one day.
"Keep doing what you're doing, keep representing the best state ever," her message to Floridians.