WASHINGTON — The military continues working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Hawaii following the Maui wildfires, said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder Aug. 22.
Nearly 700 Defense Department personnel and 157 Coast Guardsmen are currently engaged with the U.S. Army Pacific Command and Joint Task Force 5-0 mission, which they've received from FEMA, he said. The assignments include operating a defense coordinating element office and providing inter-island air and sea transportation, aerial fire suppression, fuel distribution and mortuary affairs support.
In the past 24 hours, search and recovery operations have continued with Hawaii National Guard teams, the FBI and anthropologists from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Ryder said.
The Army's 25th Infantry Division yesterday began using heavy expanded mobility tactical truck fuelers for fuel distribution operations. They’re providing about 1,500 gallons of fuel each day in support of 18 Army Corps of Engineer generators that are operating along the west coast of Maui, Ryder said.
The U.S. Pacific fleet has deployed a three-person mobile diving salvage unit, which is scheduled to arrive later today. In addition, the Coast Guard is working to minimize maritime environmental impacts and recently partnered with dive teams from the Maui fire department in Lahaina Harbor, he said.
Ryder also said that the U.S., Japan and South Korea have committed to several important agreements that will strengthen peace and security in the Indo Pacific region and the world. President Joe Biden met with Japanese and South Korean leaders on Friday.
The leaders of the three nations are committed to a multiyear framework that includes annual multidomain exercises. This follows recent, successful ballistic missile defense and antisubmarine warfare exercises among the three militaries, he said.
On ballistic missile defense, the three countries will activate by the end of this year a data-sharing mechanism to exchange real-time missile warning data aimed at improving detection and assessment of North Korea’s missile launches, Ryder said.