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U.S. Military Support to Hurricanes Irma and Maria Relief in the Eastern Caribbean

From Sept. 9 - Oct. 5, Joint Task Force–Leeward Islands (JTF-LI) provided disaster relief support to St. Martin and Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In support of USAID, JTF-LI transported more than 340,000 pounds of relief supplies, desalinated 83,020 gallons of water, and evacuated more than 2,200 U.S. and foreign citizens left stranded by the hurricanes.

JTF-LI Recent Photos

U.S. citizen David Shargel embraces his son, Naya Shargel, at Douglas-Charles Airport in Melville Hall, Dominica
U.S. citizen David Shargel embraces his son, Naya Shargel, at Douglas-Charles Airport in Melville Hall, Dominica, Sept. 26, 2017. Naya was separated from his father during Hurricane Maria; the two were reunited after a three-day search by U.S. service members with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands. At the request of t ...More
A Soldier helps load rice on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica.
U.S. Army Sgt. Delton T. Reynolds, a helicopter flight engineer with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, helps load rice on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica, Oct. 2, 2017. The aircraft departed the port with 100 bags of rice and 200 kitchen sets from the U.S. Agency for International ...More
A Soldier helps load kitchen sets on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica.
U.S. Army Sgt. Delton T. Reynolds, a helicopter flight engineer with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, helps load kitchen sets on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica, Oct. 2, 2017. The aircraft departed the port with 100 bags of rice and 200 kitchen sets from the U.S. Agency for Inter ...More
A Soldier  helps load kitchen sets and bags of rice on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael A. Anderson, left, a helicopter crew chief with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, helps load kitchen sets and bags of rice on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica, Oct. 2, 2017. The aircraft departed the port with 100 bags of rice and 200 kitchen sets from ...More
A U.S. Marine CH-53E Super Stallion prepares to land in Dominica.
A U.S. Marine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands carrying supplies and a Bahamian diplomatic delegation arrives at the Windsor Park Stadium in Roseau, Dominica, Oct. 2, 2017. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, JTF-LI has deployed aircraft and service m ...More
U.S. service members with members of the U.S. Agency for International Development and local citizens load water piping on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
U.S. service members with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, members of the U.S. Agency for International Development and local citizens load water piping on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica, Oct. 2, 2017. At the request of USAID, JTF-LI has deployed aircraft and service members to ...More
A Soldier coordinates air support for relief operations with the crew of a helicopter in Roseau, Dominica.
U.S. Army Maj. Rosemary M. Reed, a civil-military affairs officer with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, coordinates air support for relief operations with the crew of a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica, Oct. 2, 2017. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development ...More
U.S. officials and service members unload aid from helicopter for distribution to the people of Dominica
Peter Schecter, left, the program officer for a U.S. Agency for International Development Disaster Assistance Response Team, and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mike Anderson, a helicopter crew chief with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, unload hygiene kits from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter for distribution to the peop ...More
Two people carry a box of supplies from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at a supply distribution point in Dominica
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mike Anderson, left, a helicopter crew chief with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, and Peter Schecter, the program officer for a U.S. Agency for International Development Disaster Assistance Response Team, carry a box of tarpaulins for constructing emergency shelters from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chino ...More
Soldiers head to a meeting with the U.S. Agency for International Development to discuss air operations, Roseau, Dominica.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Jeffrey Borrego, left, a civil affairs specialist with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, and U.S. Army Maj. Rosemary M. Reed, a civil-military affairs officer with JTF-LI, head to a meeting with the U.S. Agency for International Development to discuss air operations, Roseau, Dominica, Oct. 1, 2017. A ...More
A Soldier looks out of the window of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
U.S. Army Sgt. Zachary J. Champagne, a helicopter crew chief with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, peers out of the window of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter as it flies over the Caribbean Sea toward the port of Roseau, Dominica, to deliver water to people affected by Hurricane Maria, Oct. 1, 2017. At the request of t ...More
U.S. service members load water into a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
U.S. service members with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands load water into a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Aime Cesaire International Airport in Fort-de-France, Martinique, to bring to the island of Guadeloupe, Oct. 1, 2017. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, JTF-LI has deploy ...More
A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flies over the Caribbean Sea
A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands flies over the Caribbean Sea as it heads towards the port of Roseau, Dominica, to deliver water to people affected by Hurricane Maria, Oct. 1, 2017. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, JTF-LI has deployed aircra ...More
U.S. service members unload supplies from a helicopter in Dominica.
Roseau - U.S. service members with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands and members of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Disaster Assistance Response Team unload supplies from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica, Sept. 30, 2017. At the request of USAID, JTF-LI has deployed a ...More
U.S. troops unload water from a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in Roseau, Dominica, Sept. 30, 2017.
U.S. service members with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands work with members of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Disaster Assistance Response Team to unload water from a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in Roseau, Dominica, Sept. 30, 2017. At the request of USAID, JTF-LI has deployed aircraft and servi ...More
U.S. Marines stack boxes of tarps as they prepare supplies for distribution in Dominica.
U.S. Marines with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands stack boxes of tarps from the U.S. Agency for International Development as they prepare supplies for distribution at Douglas-Charles Airport in Melville Hall, Dominica, Sept 29, 2017. At the request of USAID, JTF-LI has deployed aircraft and service members to assist ...More
U.S. Marines with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands unroll a tarp as they prepare supplies for distribution in Dominica
U.S. Marines with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands unroll a U.S. Agency for International Development tarp as they prepare supplies for distribution at the Douglas-Charles Airport in Melville Hall, Dominica, Sept 29, 2017. At the request of USAID, JTF-LI has deployed aircraft and service members to assist in deliveri ...More
U.S. officials discuss humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Roseau, Dominica.
U.S. Marine Col. Michael V. Samarov, right, commander of Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands, meets with members of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Disaster Assistance Response Team to discuss humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Roseau, Dominica, Sept. 30, 2017. At the request of US ...More
U.S. service members unload supplies from a U.S. Army helicopter in Dominica.
U.S. service members with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands and members of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Disaster Assistance Response Team unload supplies from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica, Sept. 30, 2017. At the request of USAID, JTF-LI has deployed aircraft a ...More
Jamaican Defense Force disaster response team soldiers exit the back of an aircraft in Dominica,
Jamaican Defense Force disaster response team soldiers exit the back of an MC-130H Combat Talon II at Charles Douglas Airport, Dominica, Sept. 27, 2017. Air Commandos transported 25 Jamaican soldiers and five civilian disaster response workers from Team Rubicon Region III to the airport while providing humanitarian aid ...More
A U.S. Navy helicopter on the ground prepares to transport evacuees off Dominica.
DOMINICA (Sept. 27, 2017) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), prepares to transport evacuees following the landfall of Hurricane Maria on the island of Dominica. Evacuees are being transported to island airports for transf ...More
A U.S. Army helicopter disembarks relief personnel in Roseau, Dominica.
A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands disembarks relief personnel in Roseau, Dominica, Sept. 27, 2017. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, JTF-LI has deployed aircraft and service members to assist in the delivery of humanitarian aid and disaster re ...More
View from inside a U.S. Army helicopter as it flies over Roseau, Dominica.
A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands flies over Roseau, Dominica, while another Black Hawk lands to drop off relief personnel, Sept. 27, 2017. At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development, JTF-LI has deployed aircraft and service members to assist in the del ...More
Sailors escort a rescued resident of French Guadalupe from a helicopter on the flight deck of USS Wasp.
CARIBBEAN SEA (Sept. 28, 2017) Sailors escort a rescued resident of French Guadalupe on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) following a search and rescue (SAR) mission for a private aircraft off the coast of the island Dominica. Wasp is currently participating in humanitarian relief efforts ...More
A Sailor signals the take off of a U.S. Army helicopter from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp
170927-N-JW440-0226 CARIBBEAN SEA (September 27, 2017) A Sailor signals the take off of an U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in order to refuel during humanitarian relief efforts following the landfall of Hurricane Maria on the island of Dominica. The Depart ...More
An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter flies over the island of Dominica during U.S. citizen evacuations and humanitarian relief following the landfall of Hurricane Maria.
DOMINICA (Sept. 25, 2017) An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter flies over the island of Dominica during U.S. citizen evacuations and humanitarian relief following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. The Department of Defense is supporting the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead federal agency, in ...More
A sailor leads residents with suitcases to a helicopter for evacuation.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Glass leads residents to an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter for evacuation from Dominica, Sept. 25, 2017, following Hurricane Maria. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Galbreath
A helicopter flies above a damaged tree.
An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter flies over the island of Dominica, Sept. 25, 2017, as U.S. service members help evacuate residents in Hurricane Maria's aftermath. Navy photo by Seaman Taylor King
Men in uniform carry a person on a stretcher.
U.S. personnel carry an injured person on a stretcher while helping people evacuate from the island of Dominica, Sept. 25, 2017, in Hurricane Maria's aftermath. Navy photo by Seaman Taylor King
A U.S. Marine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands  departs Douglas-Charles Airport in Dominica with U.S citizens evacuating the island, Sept. 24, 2017.
A U.S. Marine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands departs Douglas-Charles Airport in Dominica with U.S citizens evacuating the island, Sept. 24, 2017. U.S. service members with JTF-LI setup an evacuation control center at the airport to evacuate U.S. citizens stranded on Dominica a ...More
U.S. citizen David Shargel embraces his son, Naya Shargel, at Douglas-Charles Airport in Melville Hall, Dominica
A Soldier helps load rice on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica.
A Soldier helps load kitchen sets on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica.
A Soldier  helps load kitchen sets and bags of rice on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at the port of Roseau, Dominica.
A U.S. Marine CH-53E Super Stallion prepares to land in Dominica.
U.S. service members with members of the U.S. Agency for International Development and local citizens load water piping on a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
A Soldier coordinates air support for relief operations with the crew of a helicopter in Roseau, Dominica.
U.S. officials and service members unload aid from helicopter for distribution to the people of Dominica
Two people carry a box of supplies from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter at a supply distribution point in Dominica
Soldiers head to a meeting with the U.S. Agency for International Development to discuss air operations, Roseau, Dominica.
A Soldier looks out of the window of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
U.S. service members load water into a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flies over the Caribbean Sea
U.S. service members unload supplies from a helicopter in Dominica.
U.S. troops unload water from a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in Roseau, Dominica, Sept. 30, 2017.
U.S. Marines stack boxes of tarps as they prepare supplies for distribution in Dominica.
U.S. Marines with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands unroll a tarp as they prepare supplies for distribution in Dominica
U.S. officials discuss humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Roseau, Dominica.
U.S. service members unload supplies from a U.S. Army helicopter in Dominica.
Jamaican Defense Force disaster response team soldiers exit the back of an aircraft in Dominica,
A U.S. Navy helicopter on the ground prepares to transport evacuees off Dominica.
A U.S. Army helicopter disembarks relief personnel in Roseau, Dominica.
View from inside a U.S. Army helicopter as it flies over Roseau, Dominica.
Sailors escort a rescued resident of French Guadalupe from a helicopter on the flight deck of USS Wasp.
A Sailor signals the take off of a U.S. Army helicopter from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp
An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter flies over the island of Dominica during U.S. citizen evacuations and humanitarian relief following the landfall of Hurricane Maria.
A sailor leads residents with suitcases to a helicopter for evacuation.
A helicopter flies above a damaged tree.
Men in uniform carry a person on a stretcher.
A U.S. Marine CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Joint Task Force - Leeward Islands  departs Douglas-Charles Airport in Dominica with U.S citizens evacuating the island, Sept. 24, 2017.

FINAL UPDATE

October 5

Joint Task Force-Leeward Islands (JTF-LI) completed missions in Dominica on Oct. 5 and ended its support to USAID/OFDA relief efforts in the Caribbean. (RELEASE: Joint Task Force completes support to relief mission in Caribbean)

Final Numbers:

  • JTF-LI transported more than 340,000 pounds of relief supplies, including plastic sheeting, hygiene kits and water containers provided by USAID.
  • JTF-LI desalinated 83,020 gallons of water in St. Martin.
  • At the request of the U.S. State Department and partner-nation governments, JTF-LI also evacuated more than 2,200 U.S. and foreign citizens left stranded by the category five storms in Saint-Martin, Sint Maarten, Dominica, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands.

Overview of USAID Caribbean Hurricanes Relief

JTF-LI Mission Updates Archive

About Joint Task Force-Leeward Islands

U.S. Southern Command established Joint Task Force-Leeward Islands (JTF-LI) Sept. 9 to support U.S. disaster relief operations led by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

 

JTF-LI deployed to the region after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean and responded rapidly with critically-needed capabilities to deliver assistance and aid to areas identified as priorities by USAID/OFDA in coordination with the governments of Dominica, Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten. 

At its peak strength, the task force included more than 300 Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen, as well as 10 Army and Marine helicopters, four U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft, the U.S. Navy’s amphibious ship USS Wasp, the expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Spearhead, and support from Navy P8 Poseidon and P3 Orion aerial reconnaissance aircraft.

Background on U.S. Military Support to Foreign Disaster Relief Efforts

Any U.S. military foreign disaster relief mission is in support of U.S. Agency for International Development/Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), which serves as the lead U.S. federal agency for foreign disaster relief efforts. 

Support must be requested by the host nation. U.S. military forces support the comprehensive U.S. government disaster response approach led by USAID/OFDA. 

Historically, U.S. military capabilities are needed most in the critical early stages of a disaster relief operation, when fewer resources, capabilities and disaster-response experts are available to help victims and impacted communities. As a disaster relief mission progresses and more experienced experts arrive to aid longer-term recovery and reconstruction, U.S. military capabilities are typically no longer requested and the roles previously performed by military units are assumed by other relief organizations.

Over the last several years, SOUTHCOM has provided disaster assistance in the Caribbean, most notably in Haiti (Hurricane Matthew relief in 2016 and earthquake relief in 2010).

SOUTHCOM FOCUS AREAS