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U.S. Transportation Command supporting relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS, Aug. 31, 2005) --- In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, The U.S. Transportation Command is employing assets of the military’s Defense Transportation System in support of the massive humanitarian relief efforts.

Planners in the command’s Deployment and Distribution Operations Center here have been coordinating with U.S. Northern Command’s Joint Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. USNORTHCOM has the lead within the Department of Defense to facilitate any Requests for Assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency officials.

When USTRANSCOM receives a mission requirement from USNORTHCOM, the missions are then executed by one of the command’s components. Air Mobility Command, also located here, conducts airlift support. The Military Sealift Command and the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, both on the East Coast, perform the surface support. The coordination is happening almost simultaneously through communication networks facilitated by liaison officers along each step of the process.

As of this afternoon:

- A team from USTRANSCOM’s Global Patient Movement Requirements Center has been ordered to Camp Shelby, Miss. to join USNORTHCOM’s Joint Task Force Katrina with patient regulating and movement.

- Two C-130 aircraft carried 59 patients from an armed forces retirement home in Biloxi, MS, to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.

- Another C-130 flew 55 elderly patients plus medical staff from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. to Washington D.C. The patients were originally displaced from a retirement home in Gulf Port, Miss.

- Five cargo airplanes delivered swift water rescue teams, utility vehicles and boats with trailers to the Lafayette Airport. An additional 29 Air Mobility Command cargo aircraft are on alert awaiting mission taskings.

- Military Sealift Command has identified eight transport ships in the vicinity that can be used to transport relief items and rescue equipment, make fresh water and potentially, evacuate citizens from the affected area.

- MSC is preparing the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship, to be in place by next week to assist with medical requirements.

DoD assets are employed in support of a Primary Federal Agency (in this case FEMA) only when DoD assistance is explicitly requested and subsequently approved by the Secretary of Defense. The impact of providing such assistance will not adversely affect other military operations.

USTRANSCOM has a history of delivering humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural disasters. The command responded to help with relief efforts following the hurricanes that ravaged Florida last year and delivered relief supplies following the Tsunami which devastated Asia about nine months ago.

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