SOUTHCOM Aircrew Evacuates 19 From Path of Hurricane Felix
September 7, 2007
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras - Members of Joint Task Force-Bravo, a component of U.S. Southern Command, evacuated 19 U.S. citizens from the island of Roatan today, prior to the landfall of Hurricane Felix.
A CH-47 Chinook helicopter and aircrew assigned to the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, flew to Roatan and picked up the U.S. citizens who were visiting the island and transported them to the city of La Ceiba, Honduras. Additionally, the 1/228th transported members of JTF-Bravo vacationing in Roatan back to Soto Cano for further storm preparations.
"We were in a position where we could help out," said Army Col. Marcus De Oliveira, commander of Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano.
JTF-Bravo recently deployed an assessment team to Belize following Hurricane Dean. The purpose of this assessment team was to determine the extent of the damage from a storm and to give planners a better idea of the equipment and personnel needed in the affected areas. If requested, the joint task force can respond similarly following Hurricane Felix.
JTF-Bravo is one of USSOUTHCOM's only forward-deployed units, and is a pivotal piece of the command's disaster relief capability in the region. The task force has 600 troops and 20 aircraft. The troops train year-round for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. JTF-Bravo has played a key role in almost all of the USSOUTHCOM-directed disaster relief efforts of the past decade.