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DoD News Briefing, Mr. Ken Bacon, ASD PA

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
September 23, 1999 2:15 PM EDT

Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. Welcome to our briefing.

I hope also that you will feel welcome later this afternoon when the Secretary of Defense holds an honors ceremony and an award ceremony for NATO Secretary General Javier Solana at 4:00 o'clock. There will be a full honors arrival ceremony for the Secretary General and then he will receive the Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in Room 3E912. That's at 4:00 this afternoon.

Q: By full honors ceremony you mean a parade and everything?

Mr. Bacon: That's what I mean, right. And both of course are open to press coverage.

This is as the Secretary General's I think last trip to Washington as the Secretary General. He met with the President yesterday and I guess he met with some of you this morning is the proper precedent. And then meeting with the Defense Minister.

Q: Are they going to take questions?

Mr. Bacon: They don't currently plan to take questions, but I can't predict what would happen if somebody asked a question, but there's no plan to take questions at this stage. It's a formal award ceremony.

Second, tomorrow at 12:15 Admiral Dennis Blair, the Commander in Chief of our forces in the Pacific, will be here to make a statement on our involvement in East Timor, our support for the Australian forces, and to take your questions. We've allocated half an hour for that from 12:15 to 12:45 tomorrow. So if you have questions about East Timor, this is the place to be tomorrow at 12:15.

I'd like to welcome a visitor from the Czech Republic. I won't embarrass you by massacring your name. Give me your name, sir.

Voice: Jan Gazdik.

Mr. Bacon: Thank you very much. You're here with the USIA International Visitors Program and we're delighted to have you here.

Finally, let me just bring you up to date on the latest figures for the Hurricane Floyd relief. As you know from watching your networks it continues. There are currently more than 6,000 active duty military people and National Guard people and DoD civilians involved in search and rescue and food delivery operations We have 62 military aircraft dedicated to this along with many vehicles. They have rescued more than 2,000 North Carolina residents from flood waters in the course of this operation and delivered also tons of water and ice and other, food and other goods that are necessary to help these people through the disaster. We can give you more information on that on specific units if you want.

I will point out that there is an element of sadness here, and that is that a SPC Leon Reece Penland, Jr., a military policeman, died last night when his HMMWV overturned. It was approximately 11:00 o'clock last night. He was doing work with the North Carolina National Guard at Caswell Beach in Brunswick County, North Carolina.

With that, I'll take your questions.

Q: Water purification seems to be a real problem, and I know that an Army water purification unit has been set up in Tarrboro. Are there plans for more of those?

Mr. Bacon: I don't know. We've been providing the help we've been asked to provide, and we have delivered in North Carolina alone 561,000 gallons of water. In New Jersey we've delivered 141,000 gallons of water. And in Virginia the Army engineers have delivered almost a million gallons of water to victims whose water systems have been destroyed.

So where appropriate we'll provide water purification. In the mean time, we'll deliver water to people who need it.

Q: Anything on any upcoming trips?

Mr. Bacon: I don't have anything to announce now. The Secretary will make a trip to Asia and I expect to have more details tomorrow.

Okay, thank you very much.

Press: Thank you.

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