PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
U.S. Northern Command is fully engaged with federal, state, territorial and international mission partners as the command continues its planning, pre-positioning and initial Defense Department response efforts for Hurricane Irma.
The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, located near the U.S. Virgin Islands, is conducting medical evacuations for critical care patients from St. Thomas to St. Croix and performing damage assessments in support of the local government. They also are transporting people and supplies to the affected areas with medium and heavy lift helicopters.
Crews have so far conducted six search and rescue missions and evacuated about 21 patients, with another 23 patients planned for evacuation today.
The amphibious assault ships USS Kearsarge and USS Oak Hill, carrying Marines assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are approaching the disaster area and will be postured north of St. Croix, ready to provide assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The ships have rotary-wing assets to provide search and rescue support and personnel transportation.
The Air Mobility Command has dispatched C-17 Globemaster III aircraft carrying all-terrain vehicles, forklifts, Humvees, pallets of supplies and crew -- including contingency response and medical personnel -- are supporting ongoing relief efforts in St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Northcom is providing urban search and rescue capabilities to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist with lifesaving and life-sustaining efforts.
DoD is also leaning forward to support states that may be impacted by Hurricane Irma. The Defense Logistics Agency is providing about 50,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline and 50,000 gallons of diesel to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, in support of potential requirements.
Northcom strongly recommends for those who may be affected by Hurricane Irma to listen and adhere to the guidance given by local authorities.