The U.S. military is stepping up the tempo of its relief efforts in the Bahamas after that island nation was lashed by Hurricane Dorian over the weekend. On Monday and Tuesday, U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crews from Air Station Clearwater (Florida) flew more than 60 medevac and rescue missions with a quartet of Sikorsky MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters that had been forward-based in the Andros Islands. The medevac missions largely involved moving patients from Marsh Harbour to Nassau.
U.S. Customs and Border protection UH-60s from that service’s Air and Marine branch deployed yesterday from Miami and began flying rescue missions as well. More than 40 Army helicopter crews from Fort Hood, Texas, have been moved to forward positions at Fort Rucker, Alabama. A search-and-rescue center has been established at Moody AFB, Georgia.
The U.S. defense agencies are working in cooperation with the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency and the Royal Bahamian Defense Force. As early as later today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is expected to make a formal request of U.S. Northern Command for additional assets to be deployed in the Bahamas. Additionally, several private groups and charities are marshaling air assets, including seaplanes, to fly in relief supplies. The pastor of Miami’s Greater St. Paul AME church said the congregation had assembled a fleet of seven seaplanes to fly in relief supplies.