The Department of Defense (DoD) remains fully engaged in the ongoing federal disaster response efforts underway in eastern and northeastern United States as a result of Hurricane Sandy. In the context of our current support activities the department is focusing on providing unique capabilities to support civilian efforts to restore power to vital facilities and to assist with the resumption of mass transit services in the New York and New Jersey area.
Here is today’s update on DoD’s response to Hurricane Sandy (as of 3 p.m. EDT)
U.S. Northern Command
• The USS Wasp is due to arrive off the coast of New York today and the USS San Antonio and the USS Carter Hall will arrive on Nov. 2. Once in place, these vessels will be prepared to support potential Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) missions. They will also be available to provide refueling and command and control of DoD helicopter support missions in the area. Available assets include:
- Four MH-60S with rescue swimmers (medium lift/SAR rotary wing) are onboard the USS San Antonio and ready for tasking.
- Four MH-53E (heavy lift helicopters on prepare to deploy orders in Norfolk, Va.) are scheduled to fly onto the USS Wasp today joining two MH-60S (with rescue swimmers) already aboard.
• DoD continues to support the un-watering mission and is currently moving 120 high-flow water pumps with more than 400 qualified personnel to New York and New Jersey. DoD elements are also performing an assessment of the Hoboken terminal alongside local, state, and federal civilian partners.
• Yesterday, the secretary of defense approved the use of National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels for first responder lodging in New York and New Jersey. Three ships, the TS Empire State, TS Kennedy, and FV Wright are assigned to this mission and will be moved to support lodging as requested by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The TS Empire State is currently in New York and was used last night to shelter on-site first responders.
• At the request of FEMA, DoD continues to provide Westover-Massachusetts, McGuire-Dix Lakehurst-New Jersey, Dover-Delaware, and a federal staging area at Fort Devens-Massachusetts as incident support bases (ISB) and base support installations (BSI).
• Eight active duty helicopters are in place at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., to support search and rescue and logistics missions.
• The following forces are prepared to deploy within 24 hours in response to anticipated FEMA requests to respond the effects of Hurricane Sandy:
- 14 helicopters are available for awareness and assessment and search and rescue. Approximately eight heavy lift aircraft are available for potential evacuations.
Engineer unit and logistical support units are also available for supporting response.
U.S. Transportation Command
• U.S. Transportation Command completed the transport of 120 medical professionals into the affected areas yesterday. These disaster medical assistance teams (DMAT), including doctors and nurses, are caring for at-risk nursing home residents and other at-risk elderly.
Defense Logistics Agency
• Class I commodities (food):
-- 1.5 million meals (55 trucks) began arriving in New York from Charleston and Martinsburg, W.Va. The last truck will arrive this evening.
-- 1.3 million meals are staged at vendor facilities, awaiting movement orders.
-- Vendors are also ramping up to produce an additional 1.3 million to 2.8 million meals/day, depending on FEMA requirements.
• Class III commodities (fuel):
-- 60 fuel trucks carrying approximately 200,000 gallons of fuel have arrived at ISB in Westover Air Force Base, Mass., and McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
-- Fuel contractors have an additional 600,000 gallons available (with trucks) in southwestern Virginia.
-- Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has ordered three generators (2000 and 1500kw). They are slated to arrive at ISB McGuire on Nov. 3.
• The department is ready to assist civilian authorities with temporary emergency power with 200 generators staged at forward locations. The United States Army Corps of Engineers has teams deployed to strategic locations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and has the resources to haul, install, operate and maintain generators where requested.
• The National Guard in New York and New Jersey continues to stand up forces for response and recovery operations. New York relief efforts are focused on Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island, and the New York City area.
-- 2,310 New York Guardsmen are on duty conducting search and rescue, assisting with neighborhood health and comfort searches (knocking on doors), logistics, harbor patrol, and transportation for engineers.
-- 2,073 New Jersey Guardsman are supporting New Jersey responders. Mission sets include shelter support, debris removal, and power generation.
• The National Guard is also deploying air assets to assist:
-- 198 light/medium and four heavy lift rotary-wing aircraft are available to perform reconnaissance and personnel/cargo carrying missions.
-- The National Guard deployed eight light/medium lift helicopters to ISB McGuire to conduct search and rescue operations.