U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) directed a team of approximately 100 military personnel and nine helicopters to Grand Cayman Island today where they will be staged and ready to support U.S. disaster relief operations in the Caribbean if requested by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).
Members from Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B) and Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Southern Command (SPMAGTF-SC) departed Honduras’ Soto Cano Air Base today aboard CH-53E Super Stallion, CH-47 Chinook, and UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters. If tasked, they will provide heavy lift support to U.S. disaster assistance missions.
The mission of Joint Task Force-Bravo includes being prepared to support disaster relief operations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, when directed by SOUTHCOM.
SPMAGTF-SC deployed to Central America in June to serve as a rapid response force during the hurricane season. It was headquartered out of Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras and was postured to rapidly deploy in support of a disaster relief mission in the region.
“Our country is a compassionate nation with a long history of helping countries impacted by natural disasters like this,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Kurt Tidd, commander of SOUTHCOM. “We’re ready to support USAID, if needed, to save lives, alleviate human suffering and provide aid to those afflicted by this storm.”
SOUTHCOM is one of the nation’s six geographically-focused unified commands with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.