ATLANTIC OCEAN, U.S. --
Approximately 1,000 U.S. Marines are currently embarked aboard two U.S. Navy ships as part of the Department of Defense effort to support relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Irma, Sept. 8, 2017.
Marines and Sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force are embarked aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) as part of prudent preparatory measures in anticipation of future tasking to support relief efforts.
Between the two ships, U.S. Marine Corps aviation assets include five MV-22B Ospreys, six CH-53E Super Stallions and three UH-1Y Hueys.
The 26th MEU Marines are prepared to provide water purification, storage and distribution capabilities; ground and air transportation; heavy lift capabilities; aerial reconnaissance and aid
“We train for this kind of mission. It's in the DNA of the Marine Expeditionary Unit to rapidly respond to crisis when called upon,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Timothy, 26th MEU executive officer. "Alongside our Navy partners, we stand strong and ready to help those affected by this storm in whatever way we can."
The 26th MEU is part of a coordinated response, poised to provide Department of Defense support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local response efforts.
The unique capabilities of the Marine Air Ground Task Force provide a tailored, deliberate capability for Defense Support of Civil Authorities missions. As the nation’s amphibious force in readiness, the Navy-Marine Corps “blue-green team” stands ready to assist when called upon.