Release No: 17-017 Sept. 21, 2017 PRINT | E-MAIL
PETERSON AFB, Colo. — U.S. Northern Command is fully engaged with federal, state, and local mission partners as the command provides support to the response efforts for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

USNORTHCOM has begun search and rescue and damage assessment flights in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with six Navy helicopters and three U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft launched from the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group. Additionally, a Navy P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft, launched from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, is conducting an assessment of the damage in Puerto Rico.

Navy and Marine forward ground elements also responded at first light today to assist with response and recovery operations. The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is inserting a Forward Coordination Element and Air Control Element into Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to help open the airfield and coordinate with the Defense Coordinating Officer and National Guard at the Joint Force Headquarters there. The MEU will also insert an Air Control Element in the airport at Saint Thomas in order to help open the airfield, as DoD elements are currently focused on airfield assessments and opening runways to facilitate commodity distribution. Life saving and life sustaining efforts in support of FEMA, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico continue to be a top priority as well.

U.S. Transportation Command has postured both C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Hercules aircraft on three-hour alert to support quick movement of supplies and personnel to and from the affected area. The Department of Defense is also providing Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico as a FEMA Incident Support Base/Forward Staging Area.

USNORTHCOM's mission is to assist lead federal relief agencies in helping those affected by natural disasters to minimize suffering while continuing its mission of defending the Homeland.

NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs