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Press Release | Sept. 26, 2017



PETERSON AFB, Colo.  –  

U.S. Northern Command continues to conduct 24-hour operations, aggressively conducting search and rescue operations, bringing additional essential commodities to the islands, and restoring power at hospitals, ports, airports and other critical facilities.

While significant progress in being made in the response to Hurricane Maria, recovery for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be long and frustrating and will require the help of the whole community. As access to ports, airfields, and roads continue to open, more resources will flow into hard hit areas.

Today, the Department of Defense, in collaboration with our Canadian military partners, is conducting 17 missions scheduled to deliver food and water, helicopters, communications equipment, communications and contingency response units, route clearance, commodity distribution and additional National Guard forces to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Specifically,

Puerto Rico:

• One Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster from 8 Wing Trenton is arriving in Puerto Rico with a U.S. DoD Civil Affairs Information Support Element (CAISE) from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to support dissemination of critical public information during domestic emergencies in support of FEMA. This unit includes approximately 25 personnel with 32 tons of communications equipment. Canada has offered to assist the U.S. in transporting equipment and personnel as requested.

• One C-17 Globemaster is arriving in Puerto Rico with the remaining Contingency Response Element (CRE) to establish airport operations. This unit includes more than 50 personnel.

• One C-17 and one C-5 is arriving in Puerto Rico with the Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) unit to provide mobile telecommunications, life support, logistics, operational support and power generation. There are four MERS units currently located in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and each unit includes approximately 20 personnel.

• One C-17 is arriving to Puerto Rico with the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This unit includes approximately 20 personnel with tactical trucks and utility trailers to provide site assessments.

• One C-17 is arriving to Puerto Rico with the 63d Signal Battalion from Fort Stewart, Georgia. This unit includes approximately 15 personnel, tactical trucks and utility trailers to provide satellite ground communications capabilities.

• Two C-5s are arriving to Puerto Rico with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to provide tactical airlift with eight helicopters.

• Two C-130s are arriving in Puerto Rico with the FAA’s Incident Staging Base Cache from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia. This unit includes approximately 50 personnel and four heavy duty trucks and equipment.

• San Juan airport's air traffic control radar is now operational and facilitates an increase in flow of traffic into the aerial port of debarkation (APOD). San Juan, Jose Aponte de la Torre, and Ponce airports are established as major APODs to facilitate FEMA's hub-and-spoke distribution to sites across the island.

• Sailors and Marines alongside Puerto Rico’s National Guard continue efforts to replenish hospital generator fuel supplies. Meanwhile, we are providing rotary lift support to FEMA Urban Search and Rescue movements and commodities distribution across the island.

• DLA is providing more than 100 generators, three million meals ready to eat for federal workers, 29.9 million shelf stable meals for local residents and approximately 115 trailers with additional food, cots, bottled water, tarps and blankets to Puerto Rico.

• The DoD has directed the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship, to prepare to deploy to Puerto Rico. The ship is being deployed under U.S. Navy service authorities and will provide additional medical capabilities, if requested.

U.S. Virgin Islands:

• Four C-17s are arriving with water and meals to St Croix.

• Two C-17s and one C-130 are arriving in St Thomas with the New York National Guard’s 105th Military Police Company and New York State Police from Niagara Falls, New York to provide support to U.S. Virgin Islands. These units include approximately 120 personnel.

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.