by Pam Zubeck
U.S. Northern Command has been asked to lend a hand in the aftermath of the deadly tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., several days ago.
Based at Peterson Air Force Base, NorthCom was asked Tuesday night to get involved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"We were requested to go ahead and start working with FEMA to evaluate the scenario that's playing out there," says Navy Lt. Commander Bill Lewis with NorthCom.
Lewis says it's too early to know what resources might be helpful. "We'll work with FEMA on the ground and start assessing what unique capability that the Department of Defense could bring to help support and mitigate the loss of life."
NorthCom also has folks working with FEMA on the Mississippi River flood and early activated assessment personnel following the Alabama tornadoes. In addition, firefighter planes from Peterson flew to the rescue during the Texas fires this year.
According to NorthCom's press release:
Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Air Forces Northern and Marine Forces North will deploy to FEMA Region VII to assist the DCO assess and plan Department of Defense support of civil authorities.
The Department of Defense has capabilities that can be used to save lives as well as many other unique support capabilities such as air lift, medical, communications, and catastrophic planning.