Marines Help Staten Island Residents
From a U.S. Marine Corps News Release
NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2012 Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived here yesterday via CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters to aid Staten Island residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
Marine Corps UH-1N Iroquois “Huey” helicopters with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit deliver meals-ready-to-eat to Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 4, 2012. The Navy-Marine Corps team is well equipped to respond to national disasters when required, through the coordination of U.S. Northern Command. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Megan Angel
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The group of 20 Marines worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the New York City Parks Department and other civilian authorities to provide relief to citizens affected by Hurricane Sandy’s damaging winds and flooding.
“It feels good to help,” said Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Antonio M. Medina, an optics technician attached to the 26th MEU. “We’re trying to coordinate efforts with the local and some state agencies so that we can try to help with the situation, take furniture that’s rotten, get medicine, whatever it takes to relieve [people’s] problems.”
The Marines are moving house to house through Staten Island, surveying damaged structures, assisting those in need of medical support and providing manpower to remove damaged household goods from residents’ homes.
The 26th MEU Marines are scheduled to provide assistance as the surrounding New York communities return to normal operations and power is restored. The eastern shore of Staten Island has seen some of the worst destruction from Hurricane Sandy; homes were flooded, power lines broken and, as of yesterday, some fallen trees remained atop homes and vehicles.
“… [A]s long as the mission needs us to be here or until we’re told to move to somewhere else to help, we’ll be here,” Medina said. “The [locals] appreciate the help a lot. They shake our hands and say ‘Thank you.’ They even have offered us food in several locations but we’re not here to take their things. We’re here to help them out.”
Many of the residents expressed their gratitude to the Marines for lending a hand. Salvatore Greco, who served in the Marine Corps during the early 90’s, said he was excited when he saw a group of Marines helping out with the recovery.
“It’s a blessing,” Greco said. “The first thing I asked was, ‘Where’s my Marines at?’”
Greco’s wife, Sebahet, said she wants to see more Marines helping out.
“I was hoping that the Marines were here,” she said. “I was happy to see them here.”
The Marines, operating from the USS Wasp, USS San Antonio and USS Carter Hall off the coast of New York City, are part of a Navy and Marine Corps team that provides crisis response anywhere in the world. The Navy-Marine team can land forces ashore by air and sea, and is uniquely suited to assist local authorities in moving personnel and equipment.