U.S. Northern Command continues to support the ongoing response efforts to Puerto Rico to provide life-saving and life-sustaining support to those in the affected areas. The Department of Defense’s primary focus areas in the support to FEMA and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are the deployment of logistical support forces, commodity distribution, and increasing the medical capabilities on the island.
Today, additional sustainment units, medical units, and U.S. Army helicopters are scheduled to be transported to Puerto Rico. Currently we have approximately 4,700 active duty servicemembers located in the Puerto Rico area of operations. Yesterday, we completed 11 flights to deliver food, water, life-saving and sustaining commodities, 12 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, a Veteran Affairs Mobile Medical unit, and an additional four U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys from the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264, Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina. In addition, 114 fuel trucks and 125 drivers from the Defense Logistics Agency arrived in Puerto Rico.
In support of the distribution of commodities, USNORTHCOM has 11 scheduled flights today to aid in the transportation of approximately 246,000 liters of water, 155,000 meals, tarps, and additional sandbags. Additionally, DoD tilt and rotary wing aircraft supporting response efforts will increase by 13 active duty helicopters to 38 tomorrow with the return of the USS WASP to aid in air to ground delivery of food, water and supplies to areas not accessible by ground. Yesterday, DoD completed 11 airlift flights to deliver water, meals and other life-saving and life-sustaining commodities.
The medical vessel USNS Comfort arrived today with 800 medical personnel and support staff. The USNS Comfort medical care capabilities include general practice, family medicine, nephrology and pediatrics, capable of serving 200 patients per day. Yesterday, teams continued reassessments and resupply of Puerto Rico hospitals and the continued support by our medical assets which include an Area Support Medical Company, Expeditionary Medical Support System and Army Combat Support Hospital.
The Joint Force Land Component Command commander, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, and the Dual Status Commander, Brig. Gen. Jose Reyes, participated in a FEMA-led meeting with the President of the United States.
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.