DoD Adapting Katrina Support to Meet Changing Requirements
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2005 The Defense Department is tailoring its 70,000-member force supporting hurricane relief operations as needed to provide the critical capabilities required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies, defense officials said today.
The current military support force - 22,000 active-duty troops and more than 46,000 National Guardsmen - continue to provide critical security, logistical and other support, officials said.
However, Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, has directed that no federal military troops be used to perform or assist with any type of forced evacuation, officials said.
Troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Cavalry Division and 1st and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force continue to conduct humanitarian assistance, search and rescue, evacuation and security assessments. They will also mark and record locations of deceased people for mortuary teams, but will not recover the bodies, officials said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has reuqested DoD support to perform all aspects of the mortuary affairs mission until a new contractor is identified. The previous contractor, Kenyon International, withdrew its contract for undisclosed reasons, officials said.
In another new development, two C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Air Force Reserve's 910th Airlift Wing are preparing begin the first mosquito-spraying missions in the region today. The initial focus will be the New Orleans area, then outlying areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, if required, officials said.
The wing, from Youngstown, Ohio, is deployed to Duke Field, Fla., to carry out the mission.
U.S. Northern Command has also requested two fire trucks - one from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and one from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. - to support airport operations at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
Defense officials reported these additional ongoing operational highlights:
- 20 U.S. Navy ships remain in the area;
- 346 active-duty and National Guard helicopters and 68 airplanes are providing aviation support in the area;
- 274 sorties have flown in the past 24 hours supporting the operation, bringing the total to date to 11,669;
- Seven installations are providing support as transportation staging areas for ice, water, food and medical supplies;
- 16.7 million packaged meals have been delivered, with 1 million of them diverted to Virginia and Georgia to support Hurricane Ophelia response, if required;
- 789 beds are available in field hospitals at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, the 14th Combat Support Hospital, and aboard USS Bataan, USS Iwo Jima, USS Tortuga and USS Shreveport; and
- 115 nations and 12 international organizations have offered assistance, and Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., is serving as the central collection point for supplies donated by foreign countries.