Army Ramped Up for Irma
The Army is poised with 10,000 soldiers and civilians ready to respond with aid and support when the winds of the former Hurricane Irma subside enough so it is safe to venture out.
Regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers and Army civilians were predeployed so they’d be ready to help, and several states have promised additional National Guard troops if needed.
Irma was a Category 5 hurricane as it devastated parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, struck the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm, hit the mainland as a Category 3 hear Marco Island and was slowly losing strength. As it raked up Florida’s Gulf Coast, storm surges, flash flooding and tornados struck throughout the state.
Army National Guard forces were already at work in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on disaster relief missions.
Several Army posts moved equipment and aircraft out of the danger zone. For example, aircraft were moved from Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia and Fort Rucker in Alabama in advance of the hurricane.
Many of the National Guard and Army Reserve units involved responded to Irma directly from fighting forest fires in the western U.S. or from cleanup from Hurricane Harvey, the wettest tropical storm in U.S. history that struck Texas and Louisiana.
In addition to the personnel, the Army reported it had 150 aircraft, 3,400 trucks, 150 boats and 680 generators available. The generators could be extremely useful as there are massive power outages throughout Florida.