KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 6, 2015 —
Joint Task Force 505 has been activated to support the government of Nepal by conducting humanitarian disaster relief operations to limit further loss of life and suffering in response to the devastating earthquake that struck central Nepal on April 25.
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, has designated Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, as the joint task force’s commander, effective today.
Activation of the task force follows the initial U.S. military response to support Nepal’s government, joining the efforts already underway by the Joint Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team and the U.S. Agency for International Development and Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Disaster Assistance Response Team, as well as urban search and rescue teams already delivered to Nepal by Air Force C-17 transport jets.
At Nepalese Government’s Request
"We are here at the request of, and in support of, the government of Nepal as they deal with this terrible tragedy," Wissler said. "We will continue to provide support as part of the overall U.S. government and international response as long as our unique capabilities can support the government of Nepal and remain in partnership with the Nepalese army."
Joint Task Force 505’s forward headquarters here will coordinate U.S. military relief efforts. The task force will continue to work closely with senior representatives from the U.S. State Department, USAID and other U.S. agencies to ensure continued and timely responses to requests from the Nepalese government, officials said.
The task force will initially support ongoing disaster relief operations with a U.S. Air Force contingency response group, three Marine Corps UH-1Y Huey helicopters, four Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, four Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transports and two Marine Corps KC-130 Hercules aircraft, as well as various ground and aviation command and control capabilities.
Officials said they anticipate that the task force’s mission will require having about 500 U.S. military personnel working in Nepal.