By Lt. Col. Beth SmithOctober 20, 2017
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy visited Puerto Rico Thursday to assess damage to the island and to visit Soldiers assisting with recovery operations.
While there he met with Army and Corps of Engineers leadership, flew over the island to view first-hand the destruction, and met with Soldiers who are working around the clock to deliver much-needed food, water, power and other supplies.
During the trip, McCarthy visited with Soldiers from the 4th Sustainment Brigade who also deployed to help Texas residents in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
"We're proud of you and what you all are doing. You are doing great things for our fellow countrymen," McCarthy said.
Since Hurricanes Maria and Irma hit last month, about 14,468 service members from units around the nation have made tremendous strides to clear roadways and bring tons of supplies to hard-hit areas in Puerto Rico. This includes about 5,110 Army and Air National Guard members from Puerto Rico and several states helping with the recovery operations.
In addition, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel in Puerto Rico are working on 25 missions assigned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to include: temporary power, power repair, temporary roofing, debris removal, and infrastructure assessment. For instance, the 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) is operating 24 hours a day to install generators.
"This is what we do. We know we're making tremendous results and improving people's lives every day we're here and we will continue to do so until we help get lives back to normal," McCarthy said.
At the last stop of the day, the acting secretary spoke to Puerto Rican leaders and pledged his continued support, expressing confidence in a successful recovery.
"I have no doubt that we will all get through this recovery and in conjunction with our partner agencies, help get Puerto Rico back to normal," he said.