PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – In support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Northern Command is prepared, positioned, and ready to respond immediately to communities affected by Hurricane Florence.
The same capabilities that make the U.S. Armed Forces so powerful in combat also lend themselves extraordinarily well to disaster relief. The Department of Defense is ready and able to support FEMA and State and local officials in situations where DoD’s unique capabilities are required.
Below are latest update on DoD’s support. USNORTHCOM, its subordinate commands, and the National Guard are ready to support FEMA and local partners once Hurricane Florence makes landfall:
- The National Guard has approximately 4,000 soldiers and airmen already on-duty, which is expected to significantly increase in the coming days. More than 10 states are mobilizing critical support from their National Guard forces through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact to the anticipated impacted areas.
- USNORTHCOM has helicopters and fixed wing aircraft from all services prepositioned to respond to Hurricane Florence if called upon.
- The National Guard has about 40 rotary wing aircraft available for search and rescue and are prepared to assist local first responders with general aviation support.
- Approximately 20 Air Force helicopters from Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; and Patrick Air Force Base, Florida are ready to respond for search and rescue operations.
- More than 100 Army helicopters from Fort Drum, New York; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, are on standby for search and rescue, emergency aeromedical evacuation, and utility duties such as commodity and personnel transport.
- The ships USS Kearsarge and USS Arlington, along with embarked elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Expeditionary Strike Group 2 command element, have been deployed. The ships are positioned to chase the storm and provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities from the sea, should support be requested. The ships have an embarked Fleet Surgical Team, four MH-53 Sea Dragons, six MH-60 Sea Hawks, and three ship-to-shore landing craft utilities. The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked aboard Kearsarge and Arlington, includes approximately 800 Marines, six MV-22 Ospreys, three CH-53 Super Stallion and three UH-1Y Super Huey helicopters, as well as a host of ground vehicles, generators and other expeditionary equipment.
- Approximately 240 High-Water Vehicles from Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Drum, New York; and Fort Campbell, Kentucky are available for ground search and rescue, commodities distribution, citizen transportation, and patient movements.
- The U.S. Transportation Command has three C-17 Globemaster III aircraft ready to respond within three hours, if requested.
USNORTHCOM provided Maxwell Air Force Base as an Incident Support Base to support FEMA with the forward distribution of supplies/equipment to the affected areas.
- The Defense Logistics Agency has established expeditionary distribution centers at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia and Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, with prepositioned stocks of Meals Ready to Eat, bottled water, gasoline and propane, and industrial generator sets.
USNORTHCOM deployed an active duty military deputy and supporting staff in support of the Dual Status Commanders for Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The DSC for the three states are: Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora, Virginia National Guard; Maj. Gen. James Ernst, North Carolina National Guard; and Maj. Gen. Roy Van McCarty, South Carolina National Guard. All DSCs were appointed by their respective state governors and approved by the Secretary of Defense to serve as Title 10 Commanders of both state and federal forces in support of Hurricane Florence.
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has deployed an additional 67 personnel to include Temporary Emergency Power Planning and Response Teams, Subject Matter Experts, Team Leaders and Assistant Team Leaders to support hurricane preparation and response.
- USACE has also pre-positioned 105 generators, with an additional 15 en route, to provide temporary emergency power support.