Defense Department personnel stand ready to respond in the Gulf Coast for any request for assistance following Hurricane Nate.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pre-approved DoD lifesaving and life-sustaining support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in response to the hurricane.
The storm, which has since weakened to a tropical depression, made its first landfall last night in southeastern Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center, and made its second landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi, also as a Category 1 storm.
Northcom Fully Engaged
U.S. Northern Command is fully engaged with federal, state and territorial mission partners as the command balances support to the response for Hurricane Maria and the planning for and pre-positioning of DoD assets in preparation for Hurricane Nate.
Northcom has activated defense coordinating officers with defense supporting staff elements to the FEMA regional response coordinating centers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and in Atlanta. The DoD personnel will be able to provide the states and regions with DoD regional knowledge, requirements validation and liaison, officials said, adding that the command’s Marine Forces North component will be the lead component if there is a request to respond.
The amphibious transport dock ship USS New York, along with components of Fleet Surgical Team 8, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadrons 40 and 46 departed Naval Station Mayport, Florida, yesterday to support the Gulf Coast region in the event assistance is requested.
The USS New York is capable of providing medical support, maritime civil affairs, maritime security, expeditionary logistic support, medium and heavy lift air support, and it brings diverse skills, including assessment and security.
DoD is also leaning forward to support states that may potentially be affected by the hurricane, preparing a search and rescue package and coordinating element, light-, medium- and heavy-lift helicopters, an air expeditionary group for support operations, an E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System, trucks and general-purpose boats, officials said.
Additionally, Northcom officials said, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, has stood up as an installation support base to support the staging of response personnel and provide assets to support the distribution of supplies to affected areas.
Northcom’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.