Pentagon chips in for Sandy relief

A utility truck is loaded onto a military aircraft at March Air Reserve Base in California, preparing for a flight to New York to aid in storm-relief efforts. United States Air Force

WASHINGTONThe Defense Department says it is flying 17 aircraft from California to New York loaded with power generation equipment and crews to help restore power to the millions of homes and businesses devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The airlift is one part of several efforts the Pentagon says it is making to support Sandy relief efforts.

The Pentagon says the utility equipment is being provided by southern California power companies, including Con Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

The equipment includes 10 double bucket trucks, nearly 20 pick-up trucks, and a number of other trucks and equipment, as well as a mobile command center. It will arrive at the air guard base at Stewart International Airport Thursday afternoon.

The Air Force said the passengers and cargo includes a total of 632 short tons of equipment and supplies -- with 69 vehicles belonging to the Southern California Edison utility company.

In addition to the airlift, below is a list of other efforts the Pentagon says it is making in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

  • The USS Wasp is due to arrive in New York City Thursday and the USS San Antonio and the USS Carter Hall will arrive on November 2. Once in place, these vessels will be prepared to support potential Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) missions. They will also be available to provide refueling and command and control of DoD helicopter support missions in the area. Assets included with these ships include 6 MH-60S rotary wing aircraft with rescue swimmers; 4 MH-53E heavy lift helicopters.
  • The DoD continues to support the water pumping mission and is currently moving 120 high-flow water pumps with more than 400 qualified personnel to New York and New Jersey. DoD elements are also performing an assessment of the Hoboken terminal alongside local, state, and Federal civilian partners.
  • On Wednesday, the Secretary of Defense approved the use of National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels for first responder lodging in New York and New Jersey. Three ships, the TS Empire State, TS Kennedy, and FV Wright are assigned to this mission and will be moved to support lodging as requested by FEMA. The TS Empire State is currently in N.Y. and was used Wednesday night to shelter on-site first responders.
  • At the request of FEMA, DoD continues to provide Westover-Massachusetts, McGuire-Dix Lakehurst-New Jersey, Dover-Delaware, and a Federal Staging Area at Fort Devens-Massachusetts as Incident Support Bases and Base Support Installations.
  • Eight active duty helicopters are in place at Hanscom AFB, Mass., to support search and rescue and logistics missions.
  • The following forces are prepared to deploy within 24 hours in response to anticipated FEMA requests to respond the effects of Hurricane Sandy: 14 helicopters are available for awareness and assessment and search and rescue; approximately 8 heavy lift aircraft are available for potential evacuations; Engineer unit and logistical support units are also available for supporting response.
  • U.S. Transportation Command completed the transport of 120 medical professionals into the affected areas Wednesday. These Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT), including doctors and nurses, are caring for at-risk nursing home residents and other at-risk elderly.
  • 1.5 million meals (loaded onto 55 trucks) began arriving in New York from Charleston and Martinsburg, W.Va. The last truck will arrive Thursday evening.
  • 1.3 million meals are staged at vendor facilities, awaiting movement orders; vendors are also ramping up to produce an additional 1.3 million to 2.8 million meals/day, depending on FEMA requirements.
  • 60 fuel trucks carrying approximately 200,000 gallons of fuel have arrived at Incident Support Bases in Westover AFB, Mass and McGuire AFB, N.J.; fuel contractors have an additional 600k gallons available (with trucks) in southwestern Va.
  • 3 generators are slated to arrive at Incident Support Base McGuire on November 3; The DoD is ready to assist civilian authorities with temporary emergency power with 200 generators staged at forward locations. The United States Army Corps of Engineers has teams deployed to strategic locations in N.Y., N.J., and Pa., and has the resources to haul, install, operate and maintain generators where requested.
  • The National Guard in New York and New Jersey continues to stand up forces for response and recovery operations. N.Y. relief efforts are focused on Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island, and the New York City area.
  • 2,310 New York Guardsmen are on duty conducting search and rescue, assisting with neighborhood health and comfort searches (knocking on doors), logistics, harbor patrol, and transportation for engineers.
  • 2,073 New Jersey Guardsman are supporting New Jersey responders. Mission sets include shelter support, debris removal, and power generation
  • The National Guard is also deploying air assets to assist, including eight light/medium lift helicopters to ISB McGuire to conduct search and rescue operations. 198 light/medium and four heavy lift rotary-wing aircraft are available to perform reconnaissance and personnel/cargo carrying missions.

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