VIDEO: Coast Guard Responds After Hurricane Harvey; Navy Assesses Status of Air Stations on Gulf Coast

August 28, 2017 1:59 PM - Updated: August 28, 2017 5:14 PM

Coast Guard helicopters have been working to rescue victims following the weekend landfall of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Overnight, Coast Guard conducted medical transfers for two people in critical condition. As of Monday morning, the US Coast Guard Heartland region reported 18 helicopters, nine flood punt teams conducting search and rescue operations in the Houston area.

National Strike Force personnel are surveying for potential pollution and hazardous material in Corpus Christi, Texas, according to a statement released by the Coast Guard.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard personnel from New England and Miami are assisting the search and rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Air Station Cape Cod deployed two MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopters and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed wing aircraft, along with 18 crewmembers, to Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., on Saturday to assist with search and rescue operations.

Approximately 40 Coast Guard personnel from Air Station Miami and Maritime Safety and Security Team Miami arrived in Texas Monday to relieve other Coast Guard teams conducting search and rescue operations.

By Monday afternoon, Coast Guard air and ground teams had rescued more than 1,450 people.

“The Coast Guard is continuing to work with all federal, state and local agencies for rescue operations in the Houston area. We have pulled assets and resources from across the country to create a sustainable force,” said a statement released by Vice Adm. Karl Schultz, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “This is a united effort that is still in the early stages and we are focused on the safety of those in the affected area and saving lives.”

The scope of the storm is so immense Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday afternoon he activated the entire roughly 12,000-member Texas National Guard to assist in ongoing search and rescue operations

Approximately 3,000 members of the Texas National Guard had mobilized for search and recovery efforts before the latest announcment. The new mobilization activates every member who is not currently deployed or in a combat preparation cycle.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency deployed 1,800 personnel, including 14 urban search and rescue teams, to Texas and Louisiana. FEMA also has more than 1 million meals, more than 1 million liters of water, 20,000 tarps, and 70 generators ready to use assisting communities hit by the storm.

Status of Naval Installations.

Initial reports suggest Navy installations in Corpus Christi and Kingsville on the Texas Gulf Coast dodged major damage from Hurricane Harvey which made landfall Friday night northeast of both cities.

Naval Air Station Kingsville is fully mission ready to Bill Dougherty, Navy Public Affairs Officer for Navy Region Southeast, told USNI News. Aircraft temporarily relocated to Fort Worth before the storm are starting to return to Kingsville.

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, which was closer to the storm, is still assessing damage with only essential personnel on base, Dougherty said. “There was some roof damage but no flooding.”

Aircraft and non-essential personnel and their families were ordered evacuated from the coast before the storm, Dougherty said. Most went to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth.

Joint Base San Antonio, which is further inland and to the west of where Harvey hit, had so far just reported heavy rain, but no flooding or damage, according to Dougherty.
“We’re very fortunate,” he said.

Ben Werner

Ben Werner

Ben Werner is a staff writer for USNI News. He has worked as a freelance writer in Busan, South Korea, and as a staff writer covering education and publicly traded companies for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore Business Journal. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from New York University.

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