Sandy Strikes — Federal Government, DoD and National Guard Step In (Updates)
A soldier holds a child displaced by Hurricane Sandy in Hoboken, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012. The soldier is assigned to the New Jersey National Guard.(Photo DoD)
From the U.S. Air Force Official Web Site:
“In the wake of President Obama’s call for the federal government to “lean forward” in response to the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, Airmen from across the country are answering the call.
Aircraft and crews from 12 active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve bases across the nation are mobilized to arrive at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., where they are slated to pick up approximately 10 passengers and 632 short tons of equipment and supplies supporting relief efforts on the East Coast.
Airmen secure a truck from Southern California Edison in the cargo bay of a Travis Air Force Base C-5 Galaxy on March Air Reserve Base, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012, to transport equipment to the East Coast to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. During the day, reservists and technicians from the base loaded other Edison equipment onto the C-5 and a Joint Base Lewis-McChord C-17 Globemaster III. (Photo USAF)
The passengers and cargo, including 69 vehicles belonging to the Southern California Edison utility company, are slated to arrive at Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, N.Y., at around 2:30 p.m., Nov. 1, after which they will move out to support efforts to restore power and provide humanitarian assistance to the stricken region. Media reports have stated that more than 2 million people still remain without power in the aftermath of the superstorm.
The movement is expected to require the use of five C-5s and approximately 12 C-17s. A C-5B from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and C-17 from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., are among the first aircraft scheduled to depart March Thursday morning.
The rapid response was made possible through the combined efforts of planners at U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command’s 18th Air Force and the 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center) here operating as part of the U.S. Northern Command-led effort supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s storm response efforts. Days before the storm made landfall, these same planners had already begun preparations to move personnel and aircraft out of harm’s way – preserving their readiness to respond after the storm had passed.”
Way to go, Air Force!
Soldiers help clean up debris and snow following Hurricane Sandy in Nicholas County, W.Va., Oct. 31, 2012. The estimated two feet of snow caused havoc throughout the county, but especially on many of the mountainous roads, where existing erosion combined with heavy, wet snow to cause land slides and fallen trees. The soldiers are assigned to the West Virginia Army National Guard’s 821st Engineering Company based in Summersville, W. Va. (Photo DoD)
Now this is what I would call a “responsive response.”
American Forces Press Service:
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 in the area Nov. 2, officials said. Once in place, these vessels will be prepared to support potential missions in support of civil authorities. They will also be available to provide refueling and command and control of DOD helicopter support missions in the area.
Other available DOD assets include:
— Four MH-60S Seahawk helicopters with rescue swimmers are onboard the USS San Antonio and are ready for tasking.
— Four MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters are scheduled to fly to the USS Wasp today from Norfolk, Va., joining two MH-60S Seahawk helicopters with rescue swimmers already onboard the Wasp.
— 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, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta 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 — will support lodging as requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The TS Empire State is currently in New York and was used last night to shelter on-site first responders.
— Also at the request of FEMA, DOD continues to provide Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and a federal staging area at Fort Devens in Massachusetts as incident support bases and base support installations.
— 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:
— Fourteen helicopters are available for awareness and assessment and search and rescue missions. Approximately eight heavy lift aircraft are available for potential evacuations.
— Engineer and logistical support units are also available.
U.S. Transportation Command completed the transport of 120 medical professionals into the affected areas yesterday. These disaster medical assistance teams include doctors and nurses that are caring for at-risk nursing home residents and other at-risk elderly persons.
The Defense Logistics Agency is delivering 55 truckloads of food, a total of 1.5 million meals, to New York from Charleston and Martinsburg, W.Va. The last of these trucks will arrive this evening. An additional 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 per day, depending on FEMA requirements.
Sixty fuel trucks, carrying approximately 200,000 gallons of fuel, have arrived at incident support bases at Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts and McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. An additional 600,000 gallons of fuel, with trucks, are available in Virginia.
Three 1,500 kilowatt-hour and higher-capacity generators are scheduled to arrive at the incident support base at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey Nov. 3.
More than 2,300 New York National Guardsmen are on duty conducting search and rescue, logistics and harbor patrol missions and assisting with neighborhood health and comfort searches and transportation for engineers.
Nearly 2,100 New Jersey National Guardsman are supporting New Jersey responders with shelter support, debris removal and power generation missions.
The National Guard deployed eight light/medium lift helicopters to the incident support base at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to conduct search and rescue operations. The Guard also has 198 light/medium and four heavy lift rotary-wing aircraft available for reconnaissance and personnel/cargo carrying missions.
Rear Adm. John Kirby, Chief of Information, has provided “clarification” on the Navy’s role in providing support to those affected by Hurricane Sandy:
It is true that the Navy is moving ships to be closer to the areas affected by the hurricane; however these ships have not been officially tasked to provide support.
Yesterday, the helicopter carrier USS Wasp (LHD 1), which was already at sea riding out the storm, began to head north to be better positioned. And today the Fleet Commander ordered two other amphibious ships, USS San Antonio (LPD-17) and USS Carter Hall (LSD-50), to get underway and likewise head north.
The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), front, is underway during a training exercise. (U.S. Navy file photo)
These decisions provide national and local decision makers maximum flexibility and options should there be a need for Navy support. Most importantly, this will allow our forces to be best postured to minimize the amount of time it will take these forces to get on station if tasked.
Sailors handle lines as the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) departs Naval Station Norfolk. San Antonio is getting underway to New Jersey to conduct relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The U.S. Navy is reliable, flexible, and ready to respond worldwide on, above, and below the sea. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Betsy Knapper
Any and all such support will be coordinated through U.S. Northern Command. While the military plays an important role in disaster response, all our efforts are in support of FEMA first and foremost.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) appear to be the heroes among heroes when considering the military response to Hurricane Sandy.
Aerial views during an Army search and rescue mission show damage from Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast, Oct. 30, 2012. The soldiers are assigned to the 1-150 Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard. (Photo DoD)
The Armed Forces Press Service,
Speaking to Pentagon reporters, Little praised Army Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Army’s chief of engineers, and his engineers’ efforts supporting the 13 states impacted by the Category 1 hurricane.
“There are numerous Army Corps of Engineers officials fanned out throughout the affected areas to assess what kind of expertise we can lend to the states and [to] local governments to determine what we might be able to do,” Little said.
“The Corps has been very aggressive,” he said. “In fact, General Bostick, the head of the Army Corps of Engineers, is in New York today. I think he went to New Jersey last night.”
Little said the Corps is lending its expertise on the storm-stricken Eastern Seaboard to address power regeneration and other issues there.
“Power restoration is a top priority of this government with several million people left without power,” he said. “We also have a major water event — to put it mildly.”
“The Army Corps of Engineers has a great deal of experience in what they call ‘unwatering’ [which] is pumping water out of tunnels, electrical substations and other locations that have been flooded,” Little said.
Air Force Staff Sgts. Jennifer Lindner and Amanda Surwillo pack MREs as they and fellow airmen prepare for deployment as part of New York’s response to Hurricane Sandy on Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., Oct. 31, 2012. The airmen are assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing and 213 Engineering Installation Squadron.(Photo DoD)
Here is part of today’s DoD and National Guard operations update:
Approximately 10,000 Army and Air National Guard forces are on duty supporting the governors in 13 eastern seaboard states (Connecticut; Delaware; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Virginia and West Virginia.
In West Virginia, the National Guard is patrolling Interstate 68 for stranded motorists and assisting the power company with generators.
– Based on a request from the Department of Health and Human Services, DoD’s U.S. Transportation Command airlifted approximately 120 medical personnel to New York City to augment medical staff providing care to nursing homes and at-risk elderly patients. Aircraft are on standby to support further missions in response to Hurricane Sandy. Medical personnel are being brought in from Colorado, Ohio, and Texas.
– To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) has received 25 mission assignments from FEMA, with more than 400 people engaged to support the response mission.
– USACE’s priority is support to the New York City un-watering mission. They have deployed technical assistance, senior leadership oversight, and are working to identify and deploy 100 high volume water pumps consistent with FEMA mission assignments. USACE is delivering these pumps to New York FEMA Mobilization centers. This is in addition to the 100 water pumps U.S. Northern Command is currently sourcing at FEMA’s request.
– USACE is supporting emergency temporary power mission in New York / New Jersey. USACE has staged 200 generators at four locations in order to provide capacity beyond state’s capabilities. They will be deployed by FEMA as they are needed.
– Today, the USACE is shipping 25 pumps from New Orleans.
– USACE has received a Temporary Power mission assignment from FEMA and has deployed temporary emergency power assets (four planning and response teams, the 249th Engineer Battalion, six emergency command and control vehicles/deployable tactical operating systems, one mobile command vehicle) to provide support to areas impacted by post-tropical storm Sandy.
– USACE has received a mission assignment from FEMA to provide 80 truckloads of water to West Virginia
Now that the Department of Defense (DoD)has made a smooth and professional transition from preparing for Hurricane Sandy to relief and support efforts, a new post is well called for to update DoD, Federal Government and State National Guards actions.
In news from the American Forces Press Service:
At the direction of President Barack Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to coordinate federal government assistance — including Department of Defense-provided aid — to support states in response and recovery of Hurricane Sandy.
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta has directed that the Department of Defense provide any available disaster response resources requested by FEMA and state authorities as states throughout the Northeast begin to recover from Hurricane Sandy…
DOD has staged four medium rotary wing utility aircraft and four medium rotary wing search and rescue aircraft at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, for potential logistical and search and rescue operations along the coasts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in support of FEMA.
DOD installations throughout the Northeast are available as requested by FEMA. These include Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix, Lakehurst, N.J.; and Fort Devens, Mass.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is providing public works and engineering expertise to include damage modeling, storm surge modeling, temporary emergency power, and coastal preparations in support of FEMA. Other response teams remain on alert for future FEMA missions to include: debris management, commodities distribution, infrastructure assessment, temporary roofing, critical public facilities, water planning, and temporary housing.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Raymond H. LaHood announced in a DOT release issued yesterday that he is making $13 million in quick-release emergency relief funds immediately available to New York and Rhode Island to help begin repairing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, while assessments continue throughout the Northeast to determine the full extent of the damage.
Currently, more than 1,900 FEMA personnel are working to support Hurricane Sandy disaster response and recovery operations, including search and rescue, situational awareness, communications and logistical support…
Nine federal urban search-and-rescue task forces have been staged along the East Coast and are deploying into affected areas as needed, and requested by impacted states, according to the FEMA release. An additional six federal urban search-and-rescue task forces have been placed on alert for potential activation if required. Fourteen Incident Management Assistance Teams and 12 liaison officers are positioned in affected states along the East Coast to support preparedness activities and ensure there are no unmet needs.
FEMA and the Department of Defense established Incident Support Bases in Westover, Mass., and Lakehurst, N.J., to pre-position supplies, including water, meals, blankets and other resources closer to potentially impacted areas, should they be needed and requested by states, according to the FEMA release. FEMA has moved roughly 245,000 liters of water, more than 174,000 meals and thousands of blankets and cots to Westover Air Reserve Base; and more than 400,000 liters of water and more than 390,000 meals and thousands of cots to Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, N.J., and more commodities are en route, as weather conditions permit.
There are now more than 7,400 National Guard forces on duty supporting the governors of New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maryland. These forces are providing assistance to local first responders and FEMA by providing assistance at evacuation shelters, conducting route clearance and search-and-rescue missions, and delivering of essential equipment and supplies.
The National Guard reports that about 12,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen were on duty in 11 states in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy:
“Additional Army Guard forces, from outside the immediate hurricane affected states, are prepared to meet gaps in essential functions, if requested,” said Army Lt Gen William E. Ingram, Jr., director of the Army National Guard.
“Through mutual assistance agreements, Army National Guard ground and aviation task forces, from neighboring FEMA region states, are ready to meet gaps in mission command, medical, communications, logistics, transportation, engineering, civil support, maintenance, security and aviation,” he said.
Some help was coming from the opposite side of the country: A Nevada National Guard 152nd Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and crew departed Monday for Moffett Field, Calif. to pick up a rescue boat, truck and several Guardian Angel Pararescue Airmen from the 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard.
The aircraft and load were scheduled to depart the airfield near Sunnyvale, Calif., later Monday for Charlotte, N.C., to assist with relief efforts. The 152nd, called to duty by the Air National Guard Readiness Center Crisis Action Team, was expected to arrive in North Carolina late Monday.
More than 85,000 National Guard members are available to assist civilian authorities in potentially affected states in support of relief efforts. Available National Guard resources include almost 140 rotary-winged aircraft to perform search and rescue, reconnaissance and personnel or cargo-carrying missions.
American Forces Press Service (continued):
The U.S. Coast Guard has teams along the East Coast to conduct search-and-rescue missions, respond to and mitigate threats to public health and the environment, and it continues to assess and advise status of ports along the East Coast.
The Coast Guard has already rescued 14 people who’d abandoned the sinking HMS Bounty tall ship 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C.