FORT BUCHANAN, PR- Brig. Gen. Dustin A. Shultz, senior federal Army Officer in the Caribbean, and Commanding General of the Army Reserve 1st Mission Support Command, participated in a working lunch with U.S. Representatives Charlie Dent, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, April 3, who traveled to Puerto Rico to assess the island's recovery from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.
Dent serves as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Wasserman Schultz is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee.
"You are critical for the recovery of the island. Without the U.S. Army it would be extremely difficult to do all this," said Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida's district 23.
During their visit, the U.S. Representatives had the opportunity to conduct site visits and review the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico and other agencies' hurricane recovery efforts.
"I appreciate this opportunity to see firsthand how the recovery efforts are progressing on the island. We owe it to our fellow citizens, many of whom have families in my district, to make certain that their needs for food, shelter, clean water, and power are being met," said Dent, who represents Pennsylvania's district 15.
During the encounter, Brig. Gen. Shultz explained how the men and women in uniform assigned to the Army Reserve in Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, delivered a vast number of capabilities that were desperately needed throughout the island.
"Our engineers opened over 125 miles of roads and we provided health care assistance to over 12,000 patients, more that the patients seen at the USNS Comfort," said the general, while providing details about some of the missions the Army Reserve Soldiers completed during the emergency.
During her conversation with the federal legislators, Shultz also explained how the Army Reserve in Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico not only provided great capabilities to the U.S. citizens in the island, but also continued serving the needs of the nation, with hundreds of other Soldiers from the command deployed to the Middle East, Cuba and other parts of the world.
"We formed teams of experts and showed the best of our Army Reserve. We were fortunate to get to serve our communities around the island, working as one team with one mission," added Shultz, who is the first female general officer in command of the U.S. Army Reserve forces in the Caribbean region.
After their visit to the island, the federal legislators will bring a better picture of the reality on the ground to the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth D. Jones, Commanding General of the 81st Readiness Division and Col. Guy D. Bass, Fort Buchanan's Garrison Commander, also participated in the encounter with the U.S. Representatives.
With diverse capabilities prepositioned in Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, America's Army Reserve represents the largest federal U.S. Army command in the Caribbean, capable to provide unique equipment and expertise in support of disaster recovery operations.