Sept. 1, 2005 —
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Recovery and relief operations for the victims of Hurricane Katrina call for fuel – and lots of it – whether it’s food and water for people or JP-8 for helicopters. Providing both kinds of fuel is a top priority of the U.S. Northern Command, which is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency in its disaster relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi.
"The real logistics missions are the continued flow of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and water to the FEMA staging areas," said Army Col. Robbie Woods, USNORTHCOM’s Logistics Plans and Operations Division Chief. "Seven hundred and fifty thousand MREs have been requested by FEMA and are either on-site or en route.
"The trucks keep rolling out."
And the helicopters keep flying. USNORTHCOM has about 50 in the air today, Woods said, and that number is expected to increase.
"We are facilitating the fuel resupply for all of the Coast Guard and National Guard and active duty helicopter assets that are being used for search and recovery and for the movement of people, as well as now for the movement of supplies," she said. "We’re working hard the ability to use the helicopters to push the MREs and water forward to locations.
"Sustainment of those helicopters is one of the things we’re really working hard today, (including) the fuel for them and making sure the crews get the supplies they need to continue operating."
USNORTHCOM’s supportive role in Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts is likely to grow, Woods said, as requirements increase for temporary housing and medical support of victims. "We think the sustainment mission is just beginning," she said, "and we’ll still need a heavy focus from USNORTHCOM for some period of time.
"Our key mission is to stay linked with FEMA and make sure we support the FEMA requirements."