Soldiers Coordinate Generator Shipment for Sandy Relief
By Army Sgt. Jennifer Brady
10th Press Camp Headquarters
LAKEHURST, N.J., Nov. 9, 2012 State and local authorities, with support from federal agencies, have been working to restore power to residents of the northeastern United States impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Barry “Lee” Newnam II, noncommissioned officer in charge, 249th Engineer Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C., assists in the movement of generators to be sent to areas in New Jersey that are in critical need of power. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jennifer Brady
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said his top priority is to restore power to those affected by the storm and the U.S. Army’s 249th Engineer Battalion, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., is helping to do just that.
“We’re conducting support of the national response framework by conducting assessments at critical facilities and sending the information back to the generator yard to begin sending generators out so that we can help bring power back to the people of New Jersey,” said Army Capt. Michael Wiehagen, who commands the battalion’s Bravo Company.
Wiehagen, a Pittsburgh native, is responsible for a number of engineer teams throughout New Jersey and parts of New York that are working around the clock to assess damage and determine the scale of assistance needed.
Once local power needs are identified, Wiehagen’s mission is coordinating the allocation and shipping of generators to these areas.
For Army Sgt. 1st Class Barry “Lee” Newnam II, noncommissioned officer in charge, 249th Engineer Battalion, it’s more than a mission; it’s an opportunity to help fellow Americans.
“Being a United States Army soldier, it’s a privilege to help the citizens of New Jersey in this time of need and I look forward to continuing to serve,” Newnam said. “We are here to offer support to the state of New Jersey for as long as they need us and it’s imperative that we continue this support at such a critical time.”
The generators allocated for New Jersey residents are ready and capable, the engineers said, with enough power to support hospitals and other areas in critical need.
Four generators can provide enough energy to power a small town, and with hundreds of generators facilitated by the 249th Engineer Battalion, the soldiers and FEMA are well on their way to restoring power in New Jersey.