By David VergunNovember 20, 2012
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 20, 2012) --- Thousands of Soldiers from across the country have been involved in rescue and then recovery efforts since Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast late last month. Many are still helping with the cleanup.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' focus has been on providing emergency temporary power, providing temporary housing and removing water and debris in New York and New Jersey, areas which have seen the most damage. Water removal efforts included flooded New York City subways.
So far, the Corps of Engineers has removed 275 million gallons of water -- the equivalent of 864 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Additionally, the Corps of Engineers has provided about 200 generators and 512 truckloads of drinking water to residents of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. While generators are now being de-installed, at its peak capacity, the Corps of Engineers generated 55MW of power, enough to power the homes of 50,000 families.
The Corps of Engineers has converted a building on Fort Monmouth, N.J., to house those without homes. It has assisted with residential building inspections, site layouts for placement of new structures and damage assessments of public buildings such as schools, fire and police stations, hospitals, local government buildings and public works facilities.
"Being a United States Army Soldier, it's a privilege to help the citizens of New Jersey in this time of need and I look forward to continuing to serve," said Sgt. 1st Class Barry "Lee" Newman II. He and other Soldiers from the Corps' 249th Engineer Battalion, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., helped restore power to hospitals and other vital structures.
In addition to the Corps, other active and reserve-component Soldiers from across the country have been providing a variety of assistance as well.
The 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) deployed Soldiers to New York City and New Jersey, where they have been working around the clock to support refueling operations for emergency equipment throughout the impacted area.
The 710th Brigade Support Battalion out of Fort Drum, N.Y., drove 59 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck fuelers to those areas -- each of which can hold 2,500 gallons of fuel.
They are being used to provide regular gasoline, unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel to military vehicles, emergency vehicles, according to Lt. Col. Michael Lalor, the battalion commander.
Hundreds of Soldiers from the New York National Guard delivered more than 2.5 million emergency meals and 150,000 blankets to storm victims and fueled more than 13,000 city vehicles. They also visited more than 12,000 homes and apartments to check on residents.
Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers helped citizens of their own state by providing security, emergency generators, portable antennas for Internet service and transportation of food and water.
"We just got home in August," said Lt. Col. Larry Dugan, commander of the 728th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 213th Regional Support Group, speaking upon returning home from a recent deployment. "We're happy to be back in support of this operation for the citizens of the Commonwealth, wherever our assistance is needed."
Soldiers from one of the units, the 1067th Transportation Company, off-loaded 125,000 meals, 258,000 bottles of water and special kits containing such things as formula and diapers for infants. Other Soldiers from the 3622nd Transportation Co. used 80 chainsaws to remove felled trees.
West Virginia Guard members helped their own communities with food and water distribution and power generation and route clearance even as they also sent generator assessment teams in mutual aid to New Jersey and New York. West Virginia and other states along the Appalachian Mountain chain were impacted by blizzards caused by the hurricane.
Those are just a few examples of how Soldiers from across the country have come to the aid of their fellow Americans.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie repeatedly singled out the National Guard's role in the response, telling how the mayor of one town told him, "The whole tenor and tone of the town changed when the National Guard showed up. People weren't scared anymore."
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