US Military Has ‘Mini-Armada’ On Standby To Assist Irma Disaster Recovery

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

The U.S. Navy has multiple warships on standby awaiting anticipated requests from GOP Florida Gov. Rick Scott to assist in disaster relief operations after Hurricane Irma, the Miami Herald reports.

The warships include aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, amphibious assault vessels USS Iwo Jima and USS New York, destroyer USS Farragut, and cruiser USS San Jacinto, the Pentagon said in a statement Monday night. The Abraham Lincoln alone has 27 helicopter assets which can be used for reconnaissance and relief aid delivery.

The military is also preparing search and rescue teams for Florida from “Moody, Davis-Monthan, Nellis Air Force Bases, and Fort Campbell are prepared to support FL operations.”

The U.S. is also preparing the Army Corps of Engineers, saying, “power teams, debris removal teams, temporary roofing teams and port survey personnel are in place in Florida and Georgia,” adding they are working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard “to reopen ports – focusing on Port Everglades and Tampa, which are critical to fuel distribution.”

Several of the warships have Marines on board to deliver disaster assistance in person in the Florida Keys, which suffered extensive damage.

“Marines are designed to access foul beaches. Well, a hurricane creates a foul beach. We can do anything we’re asked,” NORTHCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Mike Hatfield told The Miami Herald Monday. The Navy characterized the awaiting force as a “mini-Armada.”

“It’s horrible, what we saw,” Scott said of damage from Irma to the popular tourist destination.

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