DoD deploys thousands to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts

3756123 DoD deploys thousands to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts

U.S. Marines with 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, prepare to inspect an F470 Zodiac Combat Rubber Raiding Craft at the Alabama National Guard Fort Whiting Armory in Mobile, Ala. on Sept. 11, 2017, in preparation for search and rescue operations following Hurricane Irma. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Imari J. Dubose/Released)

By Caitlin M. Kenney

Updated Sept. 12 at 3:26 pm EST

In response to the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Irma, the Department of Defense has deployed over 15,000 service members to Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

By the numbers:

  • 10,400 service members are supporting relief operations, while four Navy ships are being positioned off the Florida coast to better utilize their helicopters to support extensive operations.
  • Search and rescue resources from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ., Nellis Air Force Base, NV., and Fort Campbell, KY., are also being prepared.
  • 4,600 service members were sent to the U.S. Virgin Island and Puerto Rico for relief operations support. Temporary medical facilities are being established by the U.S. Army on St. Thomas.
  • More than 15,000 National Guardsmen from seven states are supporting efforts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 4,500 more are on their way.

Installations impacted by Hurricane Irma include:


Naval Air Station Key West
Naval Air Station Key West is still assessing damage and has requested essential personnel return to help with response efforts. They have managed to return their airfield to operational status and opened one runway.

Homestead Air Reserve Base

Patrick Air Force Base
Base officials lifted the evacuation order on Sept. 11, but housing areas on the base are still under a water boil notice.

MacDill Air Force Base
The evacuation order for MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa was terminated the evening of Sept. 11.

Naval Air Station Jacksonville
NAS Jacksonville is currently open for mission essential personnel while debris around the installation is cleaned up and damage assessments are completed.

Naval Station Mayport
According to their Facebook page, this base is currently open to mission essential personnel.


Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay
The evacuation order for Kings Bay is still in affect.

Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield
The evacuation order for both installations will be lifted Sept. 12 at 6 pm, according to their Facebook page.

Other important updates:

The American Red Cross stated on their website Sept. 11 that 208,000 people were in shelters in six states due to Hurricane Irma.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency “in anticipation of the potential impact from Hurricane Irma.” It added that the order will also help “streamline the process that the Commonwealth uses to provide assistance to other states vulnerable to Irma.”


Connect: @CaitlinMKenney |

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