Some JTF Katrina Units to Return Home
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2005 Some military units that deployed to support Hurricane Katrina operations are preparing to return to their home stations, military officials announced today.
The carrier USS Harry S. Truman, dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island, selected 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Army Aviation assets, the Army Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platoon, the Air Force's 4th Expeditionary Medical Support Field Hospital -- being replaced by the Army's 14th Combat Support Hospital -- and the Air Force's 920th Rescue Wing are going home.
Officials said some redeploying forces have completed their missions, while local or state capabilities are in place to take over the missions of others.
At the Federal Emergency Management Agency's request, officials said, more military resources are being deployed to support relief and recovery operations. "As relief operations continue, DoD will continue to adjust its forces to support the FEMA-led effort," according to a statement.
More than 72,000 active and reserve component troops supported Hurricane Katrina relief operations today, Defense Department officials reported.
JTF Katrina is executing strategy that focuses on recovery while continuing to support disaster relief operations. The Army's 82nd Airborne and 1st Cavalry divisions and the 1st and 2nd Marine Expeditionary forces are conducting humanitarian assistance, search and rescue, evacuation and security assessments.
In response to a FEMA request that DoD perform all aspects of the mortuary affairs mission until another contractor can be found, nine mortuary affairs teams from the 54th Quartermaster Company arrived in New Orleans on Sept. 13.
Seven installations are providing support as transportation staging areas for ice, water, food and medical supplies. FEMA has ordered 21 million military packaged meals, and 19.9 million have been delivered, while 1 million have been diverted to Virginia and Georgia to support Hurricane Ophelia response if required.
Some 789 beds are available in field hospitals: New Orleans International Airport (25 beds), assault ships USS Bataan (360 beds) and USS Iwo Jima (105 beds), dock landing ship USS Tortuga (35 beds), 14th Combat Support Hospital (204 beds), and amphibious transport dock USS Shreveport (60 beds). Hospital ship USNS Comfort remains in Pascagoula, Miss.
Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., is the central collection point for supplies donated by foreign countries - 122 nations and 12 international organizations have offered assistance, officials said.
Defense Department officials provided the following operational highlights of today's DoD support in the effort:
- 68,451 active and reserve component personnel are on the ground or aboard ships supporting relief operations: 18,276 active duty, 1,895 Reserves (573 Marine Corps, 53 Army, 450 Air Force, 819 Navy), and 45,871 Army and Air National Guard, along with 2,409 outside the area ready to assist;
- 19 U.S. Navy ships are in the area;
- DoD aviation support in the area consists of 271 helicopters and 75 active duty and Guard airplanes from active duty and Guard units; and
- Active duty units have flown 2,911 search and rescue, evacuation and medical support sorties, and the National Guard has flown 9,313;
In related news, officials announced that training will resume at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., Sept. 19. Base officials said about 350 students are scheduled to arrive Sept. 16, to relieve a volunteer recovery workforce consisting of about 400 students, who will resume training in their respective career fields.
Officials said the base plans to resume training in critically manned career fields, such as weather, air traffic control, electronic principles and aircrew training. More training will be added as space and facilities become available, they added.