USNORTHCOM repositions forces, prepares for Tropical Storm Hanna, Hurricane Ike

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | September 04, 2008

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Northern Command is continuing to coordinate Department of Defense support to FEMA, state and local response in the wake of Hurricane Gustav.

The following is a list of DoD assets and personnel that are part of U.S. Northern Command’s support efforts:

NEW OPERATIONS:

  • USNORTHCOM has redeployed the Operational Command Post (OCP) back to its home base at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. The OCP was set up at England Airpark, Alexandria, La. for command and control of Title 10 deployed military forces responding as part of a federal hurricane relief effort to Hurricane Gustav. The operational command post could quickly receive augmentation and further support hurricane relief efforts in close cooperation and in support of civil authorities.

ONGOING OPERATIONS:

  • USNORTHCOM, working with U.S. Transportation Command, provided contracted commercial flights to return nearly 400 first responders to Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans Sept. 3. The responders returned from Dallas where they were flown to after being the last people to evacuate New Orleans on Aug. 31.

  • On Sept. 2, USNORTHCOM used two P-3 aircraft from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., to conduct observation and imagery operations for situational awareness over the areas hit by Hurricane Gustav. The imagery obtained from these operations was used to assess damage caused by the hurricane.

  • USNORTHCOM’s Air Forces Northern established a search and rescue unit in response to Hurricane Gustav. The unit is called the 331st Search and Rescue Air Expeditionary Group and is responsible for search and rescue operations out of Jackson, Miss., Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Texas, and Pensacola, Fla.

  • DoD designated two military installations (Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and Ft. Polk, La.) as base support installations. The installations served as locations where military units conducted logistical operations.

  • Two Canadian C-130 aircraft were deployed by Canada Command to Pensacola, Fla., to support search and rescue efforts. These aircraft were redeployed back to Canada once it was determined that military SAR was not required.

  • Canada Command deployed a CC-177 Globemaster aircraft from Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario, to Lakefront Airport in New Orleans to conduct evacuation operations ahead of Hurricane Gustav. This was the first time that U.S. Northern Command and Canada Command used the Civil Assistance Plan to coordinate Canadian military support in response to a threatening natural disaster in the United States. The Civil Assistance Plan is a bilateral Canada-United States plan, signed on Feb. 14, 2008, that facilitates military-to-military cooperation in support of a civil emergency in either country.

  • USNORTHCOM, working with U.S. Transportation Command, provided military and contracted airlift and moved general population passengers and cargo from New Orleans to Nashville, Tenn.; San Antonio, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; and Ft. Smith, Ark. Department of Defense aeromedical evacuation capabilities evacuated patients from Louisiana and patients from Texas. The operations were conducted Aug. 30-31.

  • The Department of Defense provided a wide range of military aircraft to provide movement of personnel and supplies, and search-and-rescue efforts in support of disaster operations.

  • Four Defense Coordinating Officers and Defense Coordinating Elements were activated in support of Federal Emergency Management Regions IV (Clanton, Ala., and Clinton, Miss.) and Region VI (Baton Rouge, La., and Austin, Texas) to provide assessment and coordination as required. DCOs and DCEs work very closely with federal, state, tribal and local officials to determine what unique DoD capabilities can be brought to assist in mitigating the effects of a natural disaster.

  • Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers were deployed to Louisiana and Texas, and federal operations center in Washington, D.C. The liaison officers coordinate military assets to support civil authorities.
  • Five military installations were designated as FEMA National Logistics Staging Areas to support forward distribution of supplies and equipment to affected areas as required. The installations included Columbus Air Force Base, Miss; Ft. Rucker, Ala.; Ft. Benning, Ga.; Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; and Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss.

The USNORTHCOM Web site has the latest imagery of DoD support in Hurricane Gustav evacuation and relief efforts. Specifically, hurricane relief images are available. All images are public domain and can be downloaded at original size in high resolution for public use.

USNORTHCOM is the joint combatant command formed in the wake of the Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks to provide homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities. USNORTHCOM anticipates requests, actions and requirements to support developing situations. Its subordinate commands are Joint Forces Headquarters National Capital Region, Joint Task Force Alaska, Joint Task Force Civil Support, Joint Task Force North, and Standing Joint Force Headquarters North.

The command is responsible for the operational control of all active-duty military responses to a disaster when requested by the state and ordered by the president and the secretary of defense.