Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force, come aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Aug 30, 2017. Approximately 690 Marines from the 26th MEU, embarked aboard the Kearsarge as part of prudent measures in anticipation of future tasking to support relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Juan A. Soto-Delgado)
National Guard and active duty service members are making a huge difference in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, saving thousands and preparing for recovery efforts, Defense Department officials recently said.
Service members are bringing capabilities to the rescue effort that is still ongoing. The priorities for the Harvey effort are lifesaving, housing and feeding refugees, power restoration, law enforcement, health care and medical support.
Texas National Guard rescued 3,801 personnel and assisted thousands more. Guard search and rescue assets include 244 high-water vehicles, 271 Humvees, 22 wreckers, 23 fuelers, 30 Blackhawk helicopters, four Chinook choppers and 16 boats.
Relief Efforts Continue
Active duty service members have rescued 1,234 people. U.S. Northern Command has deployed 100 high-water vehicles to Katy, Texas. The command has also sent 73 helicopters, three C-130 Hercules aircraft and eight pararescue teams to the region.
The U.S. Coast Guard has 42 helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft conducting missions. The service has also deployed 65 shallow-water rescue boats to help conduct block-by-block rescue efforts. More than 4,700 people have been rescued/assisted by air and shallow-water boats.
Texas currently has 5,209 National Guardsmen on duty, and that number is expected to gradually grow to 12,000. On the active duty side, about 6,300 service members have been deployed with another 1,100 alerted for movement.
Airlifters are flowing to the area including seven C-17s from Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, and two C-5 Galaxy airlifters at El Paso, Texas.
Medical facilities in Houston and the surrounding area have been hit by flooding. Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio is providing treatment for victims. Texas also asked for the DoD Disaster Aeromedical Staging Facility to deploy to George H. W. Bush International Airport in Houston. The facility has already started seeing patients.
Supplies, Fuel, Water
The Defense Logistics Agency is flooding the area in a good way — with supplies, potable water, generators to bring power grids back up, aviation and vehicle fuel, and with millions of meals for victims.
The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting air and ground post-storm assessments and harbor surveys in coordination with interagency partners. Two dredges are on standby, with two corps dredges in ready reserve.
The Navy has dispatched the USS Kearsarge and USS Oak Hill – amphibious ships that are transporting members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit — that should arrive off Texas Sept. 6.