“America’s Calling…”

October 16, 2017

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“America’s Calling, they want to know How to Support their Local Military and their Families this Christmas?”

” That’s easy Maureen, tell them to Help & Support Operation Christmas for Our Troops & Their Families this Thanksgiving & Christmas Season!” “November 1, through December 24, 2017.” Visit http://www.YellowRibbonAmerica.org!

 

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USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) Honors Victims of the Oct. 1, 2017 shooting in Las Vegas.

October 3, 2017

USS Michael Murphy Flies Ensign at Half Mast in Honor of Recent Las Vegas Shooting

Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

PEARL HARBOR (Oct. 2, 2017) Seaman Recruit Jessika Delagado, left, and Electronics Technician Seaman Mark Hefti post for morning colors detail in front of the ensign, at half-mast, on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112). Michael Murphy is flying the ensign at half-mast to honor the victims of the Oct. 1, 2017 shooting in Las Vegas.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco/Released)

DoD Accelerates Hurricane Relief, Response Efforts in Puerto Rico

September 30, 2017

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Breaking Yellow Ribbon America News!

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2017 — The Defense Department is accelerating relief operations and the deployment of additional response capacity to Puerto Rico to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency‘s need for a comprehensive commodities distribution network able to reach isolated communities and provide sustained medical support for the island’s residents, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement this morning.

Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, who’s in command of the DoD response effort in Puerto Rico, is working with FEMA and service components to get distribution priorities right, Davis said.

Buchanan, assisted by his deputy, Army Brig. Gen. Richard C. Kim, assessed that the planned force flow will build the capacity necessary to support Hurricane Maria response priorities, the spokesman said.

Army Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, is also in Puerto Rico overseeing the temporary power project, electrical distribution repairs and infrastructure improvements, Davis said.

The Navy amphibious assault ship USS Wasp is now involved in response operations in and around Puerto Rico, the spokesman said.

Davis provided the following updates and details of hurricane relief operations in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean region:

Puerto Rico Situational Update

— FEMA reports assessments completed at 64 of 69 hospitals; 59 are partially or fully operational; five unassessed facilities are psychiatric hospitals that do not provide emergency care.

— Forty-five percent of customers have access to drinking water. Ninety-five percent of customers remain without power; power has been restored to San Juan airport and marine terminals.

— Eight hundred and fifty-one of 1,100 retail gas stations have reopened and purchase limits have been lifted. Forty-nine percent of grocery and big box stores are open.

— Erosion repairs to the Guajataca Dam are scheduled to begin Oct. 1-2.

— The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort departed Norfolk, Virginia, yesterday and it is estimated to arrive in Puerto Rico on Oct. 4.

— Five of six FEMA-priority sea ports are open or open with restrictions; surveys of Ponce and Roosevelt Roads are ongoing.

U.S. Virgin Islands Situational Update

— An assessment of the main hospital on St. Thomas will be completed today.

Details of DoD Response in Puerto Rico

U.S. Northern Command is deploying enhanced logistics capacity, centered on commodity distribution and medical support, and designed around a sustainment brigade. Northcom is flowing five force packages into Puerto Rico focused on logistics, tilt/rotary wing lift, and medical units. Force Package 1 is on the ground with leadership in Puerto Rico for planning and assessment. Force Packages 2 and 3 will deliver logistical units and associated command and control and is deploying. Force Package 4 will follow and deliver helicopters, aviation command-and-control elements and medical units. Force Package 5 will deploy next and provide more robust medical capacity.

— The USS Wasp, carrying three MH-60 helicopters, is en route to Puerto Rico and will embark 10 additional aircraft. The Marine Corps has identified eight additional MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and two KC-130 fixed-wing aircraft that will self-deploy to support operations on Puerto Rico.

— U.S. military helicopters moved 3 HHS Disaster Medical Assistance Teams with 12,500 pounds of equipment to Mayaguez, Arecibo, and Ponce from Roosevelt Roads to support the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “hub-and-spoke” concept for the delivery of medical care. Seven federal medical stations will be co-located with each of the seven hospitals identified as ‘hub’ hospitals.

— The Guajataca Dam spillway continues to erode; immediate risk reduction measures are ongoing to stabilize the dam spillway. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports two to three inches of rain has fallen, and an additional two to four inches each day over the next two days is possible.

U.S. Transportation Command will deliver super sandbags for spillway stabilization today; sandbag installation will follow on or about Oct. 1.

Foreign Disaster Assistance

U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force Leeward Islands continues evacuations on Dominica. Following the evacuation of priority U.S. citizen medical cases, the Hurricane Response Task Force will transition to on-call status today.

Picture: In San Juan, Puerto Rico National Guardsmen load pallets of food and water onto an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter for distribution to Orocovis, Puerto Rico, Sept. 29, 2017. The National Guard has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other state and federal agencies in response and relief operations for Hurricane Maria. Air National Guard photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

HUMACAO, Puerto Rico (Sept. 27, 2017)

September 29, 2017

U.S. Marines, Sailors assess hospitals, provide support in Puerto Rico

Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

U.S. Navy Construction Electrician 2nd Class John McConnell, left, assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 2, annotates Spanish-English translations concerning a faulty generator to Hospitalman Apprentice Judd A. Ostolaza, a local resident and U.S. Navy Reservist assigned to Det. 1, Headquarters & Services Company, 4th Marine Logistics Group, volunteering his translating services with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU) as part of Hurricane Maria relief efforts at Ryder Hospital in Humacao, Puerto Rico.

The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally/Released)

DoD Continues Support in Hurricane-Ravaged Areas

September 29, 2017

U.S. Marines with the 26th MEU clear roads in Puerto Rico

Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2017 — The Defense Department is continuing relief operations in areas of the Caribbean Sea stricken by hurricanes in recent weeks.

In Puerto Rico, DoD continues ongoing relief operations and deployment of additional response capacity, expanding airfield and seaport throughput and supporting Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement this morning.

Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, DoD’s liaison to the FEMA-led effort, and his deputy, Army Brig. Gen. Rich Kim, are in Puerto Rico and are coordinating with FEMA, the Puerto Rico National Guard, leaders and other key response stakeholders, Davis said. The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Wasp is returning to support response operations in and around Puerto Rico, he added.

U.S. Northern Command will pair Wasp MH-60 helicopters with additional helicopters to bring the total of tilt- and rotary-wing aircraft supporting the response to 52 aircraft, he said.

Hospital Assessments Continue

FEMA reports that assessments are complete at 62 of Puerto Rico’s 69 hospitals, Davis said — one is fully operational, 55 are partially operational, five are closed, and the status of eight is as yet unknown.

An assessment of the Schneider Regional Hospital on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands will be completed today to determine when patient services may resume, Davis said. Meanwhile, he added DoD is working to fulfill a FEMA request to establish a mobile medical facility on St. Croix.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort will depart its home port of Norfolk, Virginia, today, bound for Puerto Rico, and Northcom is sourcing a Role 3 medical capability and additional medical support, Davis said. The capability includes a self-sufficient deployable medical/surgical treatment facility, including inpatient care with 50 inpatient beds for up to 10 days, he explained.

The Army Corps of Engineers has completed a damage assessment at Puerto Rico’s Guajataca Dam, Davis said, and are consulting on repairs. A flash flood watch is posted there, with 1 to 3 inches of rain expected over the weekend, he added.

Ten of 12 regional staging areas, including 12 Puerto Rico National Guard armories, are open, he said, supporting more than 100 distribution points for meals, and other commodities.

Eight airports are open in Puerto Rico and one remains closed, he said. Five of six FEMA-priority are open or open with restrictions, he added, and surveys of Ponce and Roosevelt Roads are ongoing. U.S. Transportation Command lifted a replacement generator for San Juan Combined Center/Radar Approach. When installed, the generator will enhance air traffic control capability and increase air traffic capacity.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean region, U.S. Southern Command‘s Joint Task Force Leeward Islands evacuations on Dominica, Davis said, noting that Southcom assets rescued one British and one French national whose civilian aircraft crashed outside Guadeloupe.

Picture: A U.S. Marine and a local American clear a tree from the main road as part of Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Sept. 27, 2017. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexis C. Schneider

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Sept. 25, 2017)

September 27, 2017

Hurricane Maria

Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

U.S. Sailors and U.S. Marines attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), unload military field rations, known as MRE or meals, ready to eat, from an MV-22 Osprey aircraft at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kearsarge and the 26th MEU are assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort.

(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Eduardo Jorge/Released)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Sept. 26, 2017)

September 27, 2017

Hurricane Maria

Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

Rear Adm. Jeff Hughes, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2, embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), speaks with Puerto Rico’s National Guard director Army Brig. Gen. Gisele Wilz about joint operations. Kearsarge is assisting with relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dana D. Legg/Released)

DoD Officials Provide Update on Hurricane Relief Efforts!

September 27, 2017

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Yellow Ribbon America Breaking News!

 
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
 
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2017 — In Puerto Rico, enhanced communications and completed assessments are providing a clearer picture of the extent of the storm damage and the magnitude of the response challenge, Defense Department spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said today.
 
“Given the changing scope and conditions, DoD will adjust its concept of operations in Puerto Rico and transition from a short term, sea-based response to a predominantly land-based effort designed to provide robust, longer term support to [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and [to Puerto Rico],” Davis said. The situation in the U.S. Virgin Islands continues to improve, he said, noting that the governor is shifting from response to recovery.
 
In Puerto Rico, response operations continue as synchronization of efforts between the Title 10 forces, Puerto Rico National Guard and FEMA improve. Fuel distribution remains the top FEMA priority. Multiple DoD elements delivered fuel and continue route clearance operations. Fifty nine of 69 hospitals are operational with unknown status. Roughly 44 percent of the population remains without drinking water. The San Juan Airport and nine other airports are open. Three seaports are open and five are open with restrictions.
 
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the J.F. Luis Hospital in St. Croix has been found to be structurally sound. Power has been restored to the Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas. Airports are closed except for military and relief operations. Eight seaports are open with restrictions.
 
DoD Response in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
 
— U.S. Northern Command is developing an enhanced logistical capability designed around a sustainment brigade and able to provide logistical command and control, transportation, supply distribution, movement control and engineering capabilities.
— The U.S. Army North deputy commanding general, Brig. Gen. Rich Kim, will deploy to Puerto Rico today and establish a joint forces land component command forward headquarters to manage the Title 10 support to the response.
 
— Northcom will deploy medical capability and ambulances and has requested the hospital ship USNS Comfort prepare to get underway. The ship has a 72-96 hour prep time.
— U.S. Transportation Command coordinated 14 flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico yesterday, delivering food, water, FEMA communications, FEMA logistics, security teams and critical DoD enablers — communications, logistics, and command and control — and has 16 flights scheduled today to deliver food, water, communications and DoD rotary-wing aviation.
 
— A joint Army National Guard and Marine expeditionary unit team is providing first responder movement, commodities and fuel distribution, and route clearance in Puerto Rico. The team established Roosevelt Roads Airfield as an Installation Staging Base; available for 24/7 hurricane relief and commercial operations. The MEU is also moving Department of Health and Human Services assessment teams, via helicopter, to hospitals across Puerto Rico to determine medical requirements.
 
— The Defense Logistics Agency is transporting 15,000 gallons of propane to Puerto Rico and 10,000 to the U.S. Virgin Islands and has coordinated the shipment of trucks and support vehicles, including 175,000 gallons of diesel and 75,000 gallons of gasoline, by barge to Puerto Rico by Sept. 29. DLA is also shipping 90 fuel trucks to Puerto Rico.
 
Foreign Disaster Assistance
 
Caribbean Region: U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force Leeward Islands continues to support State Department humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the Leeward and Windward Islands, conducting search and rescue operations and evacuating U.S. citizens. Helicopters from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp continue to support evacuations of U.S. citizens and to respond to requests for reconnaissance, transportation and logistics support.
 
Picture: U:S; Air Force Staff Sgt. Trevor Black, a small package initial communications element technician with the 821st Contingency Response Support Squadron, checks wires on a satellite communication antenna at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, Sept. 25, 2017. A 70-member contingency response element from the 821st Contingency Response Group at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., deployed to Puerto Rico in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Hicks

Mattis: U.S., NATO Will Stand by Afghanistan

September 27, 2017

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Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2017 — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at a news conference in the Afghan capital of Kabul today that the United States will stand by his country through thick and thin.

It was Mattis’ first visit to Kabul since President Donald J. Trump announced the new South Asian strategy Aug. 21.

The strategy calls for more U.S. advisors in Afghanistan, to be used in different ways and at different levels. It encompasses all aspects of American power, employing diplomacy, economic might, intelligence and military power to advance U.S. interests and ensure the safety of the American homeland and the nation’s allies and partners. 

The strategy also addresses Pakistan providing safe havens for terrorist cells inside its borders, but the bottom line is that it commits the United States to Afghanistan – a country where Americans have fought and died since 2001, the secretary said.

Reaffirming NATO’s Commitment

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joined Ghani and Mattis at the news conference, and he reaffirmed the alliance’s commitment to Afghanistan, saying NATO wants to ensure the country doesn’t become a safe haven for terrorists again.

“We will not abandon Afghanistan to a merciless enemy trying to kill its way to power,” Mattis said. The secretary praised the accomplishments of the Afghan security forces since they assumed responsibility for the nation two years ago. “With our new conditions-based South Asian strategy, we will be better postured to support you as you turn the tide against the terrorists,” he said.

Mattis said the strategy allows a more holistic approach to solve the region’s problems. The United States embracing this strategy “also makes it clear we are not quitting this fight,” he added.

“In short, uncertainty has been replaced by certainty,” Mattis said.

The secretary stressed that the strategy is conditions-based, not time-based, “because war is principally a matter of will, and we’ve made clear we have the will to stand together.”

Afghanistan’s security forces now have more than 300,000 trained members. NATO and partner forces will help to train the forces and provide them with capabilities they do not currently have, Mattis said.

“Through our partnership, we will suffocate any hope that al-Qaida or [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] or the Haqqani or Taliban have of winning by killing,” Mattis said. “I want to reinforce to the Taliban that the only path to peace and political legitimacy to them is through a negotiated settlement.”

September 27, 2017

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