As Hurricane Marilyn moves away from the Caribbean, The Department of Defense
continues to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency in providing
disaster relief to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Secretary of the Army Togo D. West, Jr., is the Defense official responsible
for coordinating DoD support for federal disaster relief operations. Through
the Army's Director of Military Support in the Pentagon, requests for support
from FEMA are being forwarded to United States Atlantic Command in Norfolk, Va.
USACOM then coordinates the necessary support made available from every Defense
Department agency. Two Defense Coordinating Officers with operational staffs
are in the area and are coordinating with FEMA representatives on site.
Requests for air transport lead the list of requests from FEMA currently being
supported by DoD. The Air Force has positioned airfield operations control
teams at the airports on St. Thomas and St. Croix in an effort to speed the
flow of relief personnel and supplies. U.S. Transportation Command at Scott
Air Force Base, Ill.,is currently supporting more than 25 requests to fly
emergency response teams, urban search and rescue units, and other critical
assets to the region from points across the United States.
The National Airborne Operations Center, a specially modified Boeing 747
equipped with state of the art communications equipment, was provided to FEMA
to use on scene. The NAOC arrived in Puerto Rico with FEMA s National
Emergency Response Team just before midnight. This is the first time the NAOC
has been used for diaster relief. Deployment of FEMA s Field Assessment Team
and Mobile Air Transportable Telecommunications System was also completed
Several air transport missions have been completed in the last 24 hours
including movement of a FEMA Incident Support Team, news media, and FBI
personnel and equipment to St. Thomas. Eight C-130 cargo planes have been
provided for inter-island transport of personnel and equipment between Puerto
Rico and the Virgin Islands.
In another first, a specialized Army reconnaissance aircraft, provided by the
U.S. Southern Command in Quarry Heights, Panama, will arrive this afternoon to
fly damage assessment missions, the first to be completed before day s end.
Three Air Force bases -- McGuire, NJ, Charleston, SC, and Carswell, Texas have been designated as staging areas to receive and prepare General Services
Administration supplies for movement. TRANSCOM will continue to deploy
personnel and equipment to and between the islands.
If necessary, a field-capable military treatment facility and personnel will
deploy to St. Thomas to work jointly with and support the U.S. Public Health
Service. Defense officials are coordinating with the Public Health Service to
determine the appropriate type and configuration of the treatment facility.
The Army Corps of Engineers is performing ten emergency support missions in
the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. These include assisting to provide
emergency water and power, and assessing temporary housing requirements. The
Corps is deploying three electric power teams to assess and establish emergency
power to critical facilities.
The U.S. Virgin Islands has 561 Army National Guardsmen and 27 Air National
Guardsmen on territorial active duty. Their primary focus is security and
search and rescue. Puerto Rico has 352 Army National Guardsmen and one Air
National Guardsman on territorial active duty primarily conducting security
For additional information contact Army Public Affairs at 703-697-7589.