More Than 13,000 Troops, Civilians Aiding Harvey Lifesaving, Recovery Efforts


By Jim Garamone

About 11,000 National Guardsmen have deployed to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency-led rescue and restoration operations in the region affected by Hurricane Harvey, Defense Department officials said Friday.

A total of 1,638 active-duty service members and 1,254 DoD civilian employees and contractors are also supporting operations in Texas. Another 1,050 service members are prepared to deploy if needed.

Lifesaving remains the priority for civilian and military officials in the state, but floodwaters are beginning to recede in many areas and resources are being dedicated to recovery operations, officials said.

Texas National Guardsmen evacuated 1,109 personnel, rescued 6,283 personnel and assisted 5,360 personnel, officials reported.

DoD officials said that active-duty troops have rescued 2,038 people in the region. The operations continue and U.S. Northern Command has deployed 100 high-water vehicles to Katy, Texas. Northcom has also deployed 87 helicopters, four C-130 Hercules aircraft and eight pararescue teams.

The Coast Guard has 46 helicopters and 10 fixed-wing aircraft conducting missions. The service also deployed shallow-water boats that are assisting the block-by-block search and rescue efforts, defense officials reported. More than 10,500 people have been rescued or assisted by Coast Guardsmen.

DoD assets are also standing by to aid evacuation efforts. Seven C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, and two C-5 Galaxy aircraft at El Paso, Texas, are on alert status.

Recovery Efforts

The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting air and ground post-storm assessments and harbor surveys in coordination with interagency partners. Two dredges are on standby, with two USACE dredges in ready reserve. Corps planners are also looking to providing up to 13,000 housing units.

The Defense Logistics Agency is providing 10 million shelf-stable meals — the civilian equivalent of meals, ready-to-eat. The agency is also providing 1.5 million liters of water a day.

On the medical side, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio is providing medical treatment for up to 7,000 victims of the hurricane and associated flooding.

The department also set up a disaster aeromedical staging facility at Houston’s George Bush International Airport. Five C-130s and six aeromedical evacuation crews are on alert.

And more help is coming. The Navy ordered the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill to sail to the region. The ships departed yesterday from their home ports in Virginia and are set to arrive Sept. 6. They will be in position to provide medical support, maritime security and medium and heavy lift air support and can assist with the delivery and distribution of recovery supplies, Navy officials said. These types of ships were also used for similar missions after Hurricane Katrina.

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DoD News publishes news from the US Defense Department.

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