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Pentagon Provides Update on Hurricane Irma Relief Operations

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2017 — The Defense Department has initiated operations in Florida in response to Hurricane Irma and also continued response operations in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to a DoD statement issued today.

Service members carry a stretcher toward an orange helicopter on a landing pad.
Coast Guardsmen medically evacuate a patient from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sept. 9, 2017, in Hurricane Irma’s aftermath. Irma inflicted catastrophic damage to the island when it made landfall as a Category 5 storm Sept. 6. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Priscilla Desormeaux
Service members carry a stretcher toward an orange helicopter on a landing pad. Medical Evacuation
Coast Guardsmen medically evacuate a patient from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sept. 9, 2017, in Hurricane Irma’s aftermath. Irma inflicted catastrophic damage to the island when it made landfall as a Category 5 storm Sept. 6. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Priscilla Desormeaux

DoD expects to complete evacuating U.S. citizens from St. Martin and is coordinating the evacuation of U.S. citizens from the British Virgin Islands, the statement said. Joint Task Force-Leeward Islands is arriving in the eastern Caribbean today to start providing humanitarian assistance, to include water, sanitation, logistics support, movement of relief personnel and humanitarian commodities.

DoD Hurricane Irma Response Details

-- There are approximately 10,000 DoD personnel supporting response operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

-- The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill, and dry cargo ship USNS McLean are conducting relief operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The SS WRIGHT is loading Federal Emergency Management Agency containers and is scheduled to depart for St. Thomas.

-- Marines from the 26th MEU battalion landing team conducting logistical and support operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

-- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assessing the Schneider Regional Medical Center – the principal medical facility on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The Corps of Engineers is also coordinating the shipment of a 750-kilowatt generator to St. Thomas to assist in restarting the island's power plant.

-- U.S. Transportation Command will lift the 602nd Area Medical Support Company to St. Thomas with primary and emergency patient care capability.

Florida Operations

-- There are approximately 20,700 DoD personnel supporting response operations in the eastern United States.

-- U.S. Northern Command is postured to conduct relief operations from the sea with aircraft from the USS Abraham Lincoln, USS Farragut, USS Iwo Jima, USS New York, and the USS San Jacinto. The Farragut will arrive off the Florida coast tomorrow. The Lincoln’s helicopters airlifted supplies to forces opening Marathon Airport in the Florida Keys.

-- The Army has High Water Trucks en route to Florida from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and fuel and supplies will be moved to search and rescue base airfields.

-- Army Corps of Engineers power teams, debris removal teams, temporary roofing teams and port survey personnel are in place in Florida and Georgia. The Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard are working to reopen ports -- focusing on Port Everglades and Tampa.

-- The Defense Logistics Agency is developing joint solutions to support Florida first responder fuel requirements.

Army Operations

-- According to Army officials, the current Total Army response for Hurricane Irma is more than 17,600 soldiers and U. S. Army Corps of Engineers civilians in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the continental United States.

-- The Army has 38 aircraft, more than 740 trucks, and more than 80 generators already committed to relief efforts. The Army has more than 100 aircraft, almost 600 generators, 150 boats, and more than 3,200 trucks on standby to support response efforts if called upon.

-- Army National Guard soldiers from Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are currently on State Active Duty status and are either responding, or prepared to respond to each governor’s priorities. Additionally, National Guard units in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina are conducting routine inactive duty training, which they will utilize to prepare for a Hurricane Irma response, if required.

-- The Corps of Engineers is already working in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist with power restoration efforts and have teams on stand-by to assist in Florida if/when needed. The Corps is also monitoring conditions at the Herbert Hoover Dike (Lake Okeechobee) and will continue to provide updates.

-- Army Reserve officers are assigned with FEMA Regions II, IV, and V Headquarters to assist with providing expert military advice on storm response efforts.

-- Fort Jackson, South Carolina, is providing shelter to 128 personnel displaced by the hurricane and are still accepting persons seeking shelter.

-- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has six divisions and six districts activated to support federal response operations, with more than 400 deployed personnel at key response nodes and 158 personnel manning key communication nodes.
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