Posted: September 15, 2017 5:10 PM

Marines Assist Irma Relief Efforts in Caribbean, Florida

KEY WEST, Fla. — Since the beginning of the Hurricane Irma disaster relief effort, Marines have successfully evacuated 1,600 citizens stranded on Caribbean islands that took Irma’s full impact, and delivered more than 52,000 pounds of supplies and equipment here, the Marine Corps said in a Sept. 14 release.

“We train for this kind of mission,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Christopher Timothy, executive officer with the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “It’s in the DNA of the Marine Expeditionary Unit to rapidly respond to crisis when called upon. Alongside our Navy partners, we stand strong and ready to help those affected by this storm in whatever way we can.”

Around 10,000 Defense Department personnel are providing support to response operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The personnel are delivering food and water to citizens, as well as supporting authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands with the combined goal of protecting the lives and safety of those in affected areas.

Irma Relief Operations:
■ Approximately 700 Marines are embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge in response to Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.

■ The Marine Corps has approximately 300 Marines from the 26th MEU and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima. In total, 1,000 Marines, 11 Marine Corps aircraft and three expected additional aircraft are conducting hurricane relief efforts.

■ Marines with 26th MEU are conducting community cleanup throughout Key West, clearing debris and making Key West livable and safe for the citizens.

■ The Marine Forces Reserve have units in Florida and Alabama whose members are supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and local response efforts.

■ Marines with the 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, based in Mobile, Ala.; 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, based in Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla.; and Combat Logistics Battalion 451, based in Orlando, Fla., are providing support. The units are critical to U.S. Northern Command’s support of FEMA’s assistance to federal, state and local authorities’ ongoing relief efforts.

Other Operations:
■ The SS Wright is loading FEMA containers and is scheduled to depart for St. Thomas.

■ Three KC-130 Hercules aircraft arrived in Marathon, Fla., as part of a fuel resupply mission.

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