JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — More than 100 members of Joint Task Force Alaska deployed to the hub communities of Bethel and Nome Sept. 21 to support flood recovery efforts across Western Alaska in the wake of Typhoon Merbok.
The task force includes members of the Alaska Air and Army National Guard, the Alaska Naval Militia and the Alaska State Defense Force.
Alaska Air National Guard HC-130 and C-17 cargo planes transported task force members and mission sustainment supplies from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson Air Force Base to Bethel and Nome. Task force teams will then deploy to affected communities as part of Operation Merbok Response. JTF-Alaska includes more than 120 Alaskan service members, with approximately 20 living in the affected region.
The remnants of Typhoon Merbok caused dramatic flooding across more than 1,000 miles of Alaskan coastline.
Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, activated the task force after Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s emergency declaration Sept. 17.
The JTF’s mission is to assist with recovery efforts across the affected areas of Western Alaska as directed by the Alaska State Emergency Operations Center. Anticipated missions include debris removal, flood-recovery operations and movement of critical supplies and equipment.
The Alaska Army National Guard has two UH-60 Black Hawks and one CH-47 Chinook out of Nome and one UH-60 Black Hawk out of Bethel. They will provide transportation, medical evacuation and search and rescue support and deliver critical supplies and equipment.
Alaska Air National Guard HC-130 and C-17 cargo aircraft will provide support throughout the operation.
Task Force members with the Alaska State Defense Force living in Western Alaska mobilized earlier this week and have been assisting with planning and damage assessments. An ASDF team deployed to Golovin and another team deployed to Hooper Bay.
JTF-Alaska will remain activated until it is no longer needed by the state for recovery operations.