13,700 DoD Personnel Respond to Hurricane Maria Relief Effort


About 13,700 Defense Department personnel are now in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricane Maria ravaged the region three weeks ago, Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said today.

A service member hands a child in a yellow coat some food.
Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Lucas Taylor delivers food and water to a girl in Moca, Puerto Rico, Oct. 9, 2017. Taylor is a pilot at the island's Coast Guard Air Station Barinquen. The Coast Guard and partner agencies are delivering Federal Emergency Management Agency supplies to people throughout Puerto Rico who have been affected by Hurricane Maria. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Micallef
A service member hands a child in a yellow coat some food.
Personal Delivery
Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Lucas Taylor delivers food and water to a girl in Moca, Puerto Rico, Oct. 9, 2017. Taylor is a pilot at the island's Coast Guard Air Station Barinquen. The Coast Guard and partner agencies are delivering Federal Emergency Management Agency supplies to people throughout Puerto Rico who have been affected by Hurricane Maria. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Micallef
Photo By: Petty Officer 3rd Class David Mi
VIRIN: 171009-G-QD712-1161C

DoD, supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is focused on temporary power restoration; food, water, fuel and power generator distribution; medical support; route clearance; aviation support and repair of the fragile Guajataca Dam, he said.

U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has the DoD lead in disaster response and relief efforts in both U.S. territories. Davis said the command has deployed food, water and key DoD capabilities, including elements of the 633rd Expeditionary Medical Support hospital to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The number of aircraft deployed to the U.S. territories totals 92 rotary-wing and 19 fixed-wing airplanes, he noted. A key incident support base distribution hub for the western region of Puerto Rico also has been set up in Aguadilla, the spokesman said.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort is providing medical support operations in Aguadilla. Elements of the 14th Combat Support Hospital are arriving in Humacao, where the hospital is scheduled to open tomorrow, Davis said.

U.S. Transportation Command has aeromedical evacuation assets in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for patients who require moves to hospitals stateside.

DoD personnel have installed 81 generators on the island and provided 273 of 423 generator inspections prior to installation, he said.

Route Clearance

Service members are progressing in clearing routes from storm damage, and the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command is taking the lead for water production near Guajataca Dam, Davis said.

Defense Logistics Agency personnel are charged with delivering 2.5 million meals each day through Nov. 5, he said.

All elements of the 575th Area Support Medical Company have arrived in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Davis said, and a mobile medical center is expected to be fully operational by tomorrow.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)