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NAS Jax, FEMA Work Together to Provide Relief

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051031-04
Release Date: 10/31/2005 3:18:00 PM

By Journalist 1st Class Mike England, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been working together to provide relief to the victims of Hurricane Wilma.

Navy personnel have been working feverishly to provide FEMA with food, shelter and security in an effort to streamline the delivery of relief supplies.

FEMA's partnership with NAS Jacksonville has resulted in the delivery of more than 1,492 truckloads of relief supplies to hurricane-ravaged portions of South Florida since relief efforts began Oct. 21. Trucks have trickled in from around the country with much needed relief supplies since the beginning of relief operations. However, that was just the beginning of what has turned into a massive relief operation following Wilma’s 125-mile winds and torrential rain.

NAS Jacksonville’s department heads met with FEMA officials Oct. 21 to plan and coordinate relief efforts. Security, supply and logistics issues were the primary topics of discussion in a meeting that solidified the partnership between the base and FEMA.

“It’s important that all of us are on the same page,” said NAS Jax Operations Officer Cmdr. Ted Carter. “This has been an all hands effort from day one. The amount of time that NAS Jax personnel have contributed to this effort is astounding. I think that when everything is said and done, our security department will be recognized as the heroes of this effort. The department, already stretched thin as it is with deployments to Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan, has responded brilliantly to this crisis.”

“Having an agency such as FEMA set up shop at NAS Jax presents a unique set of challenges for the Security Department, but we are up to the challenge,” NAS Jacksonville Director of Security Lt. Cmdr. Grace Peek stated.

FEMA officials have had nothing but good things to say about the response they’ve received from the men and women of NAS Jax.

“The base responded quickly to our arrival with equipment such as forklifts, ramps and ample warehouse space,” said FEMA Area Staging Manager Jim Noplis. “The response and warm welcome from the folks at NAS Jax has been phenomenal.”

Noplis explained that NAS Jax was chosen as their operational center because of its facilities, staff and its proximity to the storm. “NAS Jax is strategically located and has the infrastructure and support equipment we need to get relief supplies to the people that need them as quickly as possible,” he said.

FEMA, which established its Federal Logistical Support Center aboard the base Friday, has brought 80 personnel and 625 trucks to assist in relief efforts so far. “We haven’t had any problems providing them with anything they’ve needed so far and we intend to keep it that way,” Carter stated.

FEMA officials seem to agree with Carter’s statement. “The NAS Jax staff has been excellent. We’ve received outstanding support here,” Noplis said. “The support and cooperation has been great. The base has provided us with the Cadillac of services.”

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