AFNORTH supports FEMA flood relief efforts

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | March 29, 2009

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Air Forces Northern is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local authorities in North Dakota and Minnesota in response to the flood relief operations.         

AFNORTH has deployed two UH-1 helicopters to Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., under the authority of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center here at Tyndall for a variety of missions in support of FEMA, including search and rescue and movement of evacuees or other response personnel.

Under the direction of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, AFNORTH is
partnering with numerous federal, state and local agencies to provide support to the State of North Dakota and surrounding communities.  "We stand ready to assist when called upon," said Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow, AFNORTH commander.  "Our Defense Support for Civil Authorities charter is one my organization takes very seriously, and the men and women of AFNORTH are trained and equipped to lend a hand if and when we receive the call for help."

AFNORTH has also activated the Joint Personnel Recovery Center.  Located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., the JPRC focuses specifically on large-scale search and rescue operations in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster.  When a disaster occurs, the JPRC activates and coordinates the SAR actions of all rescue aircraft in the disaster area to improve the efficiency of rescue operations and reduce the potential for mishaps.

AFNORTH will also provide two search and rescue planners to the Joint Personnel Recovery Center, deploy a five-person Combat Camera team from Charleston AFB, S.C., and send one aviation planner to the North Dakota Emergency Operations Center to prepare for potential SAR missions in the affected areas.

USNORTHCOM is responsible for defense of the homeland and, when ordered by the President or Secretary of Defense, defense support of civil authorities.