WASHINGTON - Another airlift, this time from Phoenix, will bring more power restoration trucks and equipment to New York and New Jersey, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters today.
As of this morning, 12 C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster 3 aircraft have arrived at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., to deliver power restoration trucks, equipment and passengers requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Little said. Southern California Edison sent the trucks and equipment Thursday from March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
There is another airlift mission set to bring similar equipment from Phoenix to New York beginning tonight, Little said.
Nearly 7,400 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in nine eastern states are performing communications, engineering, evacuation, medical, security, search and rescue, sheltering, debris removal and transportation missions in the storm-stricken zone, officials said, while thousands of service members outside the region are working to funnel aid and capabilities to the stricken region.
New York and New Jersey Guard members are still working to rescue and transport people affected by Sandy. On Thursday, New York Guard members evacuated residents from a structurally unsound facility in Brooklyn, and New Jersey Guard troops rescued more than 2,000 people and 200 pets from flooded areas.
The USS Wasp, USS San Antonio and USS Carter Hall are anchored off the coast of New York, standing by if more help is needed. Sailors and Marines aboard the ships stand ready to support FEMA and the states if called upon, Little said.
"This was a decision we made inside the department: to station ships and Marines off the coast of New York in the event they needed to be called upon," Little said. "We all recognize this is a major disaster, and this is a prudent thing, to do what we can to support with relief efforts."
Little commended the Defense Logistics Agency for its hurricane response efforts. The agency has delivered 1.5 million meals to FEMA facilities in West Virginia. West Virginia has been hit by heavy snow from Hurricane Sandy. Flooding, power outages and impassable roads are some of the emergency conditions the state faces.
DLA is also set to provide 1 million meals to New York City by Nov. 5, the press secretary said.
And, DLA is issuing fuel with 60 fuel trucks that arrived at incident support bases in Massachusetts and New Jersey, delivering approximately 200,000 gallons of fuel.
"We expect the capacity to deliver 200,000 gallons per day for 10 days," Little said.
DOD has not put any kind of cost estimate out on its support to the humanitarian efforts in response to the superstorm.
"We know it costs money to move personnel and ships, but our top priority -- irrespective of costs -- is saving lives and assisting in whatever we can to restore infrastructure and to perform other missions," the press secretary said.
"We have taken significant effort over the past several years inside the department to prepare ourselves for more robust capabilities and authorities to respond to events such as Hurricane Sandy," Little said. "We believe there is a tough road ahead for many people in the Northeast, but given the terrible hand we were dealt by Mother Nature we believe we are doing our part to mount an effective response."