Marines Assist New York’s Storm-stricken Staten Islanders
By Marine Corps Capt. Lucas Burke
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit
NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 2012 Marines assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit today are helping to clear debris in this storm-stricken community as part of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Reynoso, an automotive organizational mechanic with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and a native of New York City’s Bronx borough, assists in debris removal efforts at Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 4, 2012. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Bryan Nygaard
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine leaders from the USS Wasp, to include Marine Corps Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, the 26th MEU’s commanding officer, went airborne in an UH-1N Huey helicopter yesterday to conduct disaster relief assessments and survey damage inflicted by Sandy along southeastern Staten Island. The Huey is from Marine Light Attack Squadron 467, which is assigned to the 26th MEU.
The UH-1N is a twin-pilot, twin-engine helicopter used in command and control, resupply, casualty evacuation, liaison and troop transport operations.
The 26th MEU has been using the helicopters to survey damaged areas of Staten Island in preparation of follow-on support to local residents.
The flights have also allowed the Marines to land in the hardest-hit areas and see what local leaders and residents needed the most.
“We’ve all seen the news, but to actually walk around and talk to people about what they are going through allows us to build a clearer picture as we conduct our planning,” St. Clair said. “Despite the devastation, seeing the communities come together and help each other is motivation for us. Marines always talk about ‘One Team, One Fight’ and we’re just joining their team.”
The 26th MEU, with more than 300 Marines and sailors and 12 helicopters, has been moving gear and personnel during the past two days to the U.S. Navy amphibious ship USS Wasp, while the unit received its mission priorities and assembled capabilities prior to going ashore to assist storm-stricken residents.
The 26th MEU, stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was in pre-deployment training when it received orders to head north to the New York-New Jersey coastal region hit by Hurricane Sandy.
As an expeditionary force-in-readiness operating from the sea, the MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and contingency operations.