By Gary Sheftick, Army News ServiceSeptember 4, 2019
WASHINGTON -- As Hurricane Dorian approached the Georgia coast Wednesday, Hunter Army Airfield began the evacuation of aircraft and civilians along with the movement of about 4,600 Soldiers in accordance with updated Joint Travel Regulations posted Sept. 1.
The rest of 3rd Infantry Division, located several miles farther inland at Fort Stewart, Georgia, was ordered to shelter in place by division commander Maj. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto Jr.
It's not enough that local officials order the evacuation of an area such as Savannah, Georgia; a military commander must order the movement of Army personnel and evacuation of their families, said Angie Rodriguez-Torres, military travel and transportation analyst for the Army's G-1 at the Pentagon.
The reason: only a military commander can authorize temporary duty and per diem, Rodriguez-Torres explained.
HOW IT WORKS
Army civilian employees ordered to evacuate are authorized full per diem for meals and expenses for up to 30 days, said Gary Buck at Army G-1. Standard mileage rates are reimbursed for private vehicles, he said.
Family members age 12 and older are eligible to receive full per diem for the first 30 days. If required to stay at a safe haven longer, they can receive up to 60 percent of the local per diem rate for up to 180 days, Rodriguez-Torres said.
Children under 12 years old can receive up to 50 percent of the local per diem rate for up to 30 days and then 30 percent up to 180 days, if necessary, she said.
Chapter 6 of the JTR covers evacuation allowances and procedures and did not change substantially with this month's update, Rodriguez-Torres said. Most changes were in the format, she explained.
"We tried to simplify it," she said.
Both military and civilians who evacuate receive orders on a Department of Defense Form 1610, said Larry Lock, chief of military compensation at G-1. Evacuation travel claims are filed manually and sent to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Travel Office at Rome, New York, for processing and reimbursement, he said, since the Defense Travel System website does not support evacuation transactions at this time.
However, no one needs to wait around for copies of paperwork when an evacuation order is issued, Lock said. A verbal order by a commander has the power of authority, he said, so personnel can move out quickly and get their DD 1610 upon return before filing travel vouchers.
Commanders can issue verbal orders so that air crews can get helicopters to a safe haven, such as Fort Benning, Gerorgia, in the case of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade. Other personnel can get on the road immediately to avoid the storm.
FLORIDA AND NORTH
About 680 Army personnel at Patrick Air Force Base and other installations on the east coast of Florida were ordered to evacuate Saturday when Hurricane Dorian was predicted to make a direct hit there.
Now the hurricane has swung up along the Georgia coast headed for the Carolinas and more than 5,500 National Guard members in four states are ready to assist with recovery operations, according to Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
The Florida National Guard has more than 4,500 Soldiers and Airmen mobilized for response efforts. Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina National Guard are positioning Soldiers and Airmen ahead of the hurricane as it proceeds north, Lengyel said.
Carolina and Virginia National Guard members are prepared to assist with coastal evacuations, officials said.
(A report by Tech. Sgt. Erich B. Smith of the National Guard Bureau contributed to last part of this article.)