Sunday, June 10, 2007

Army Contributes Equipment to 2007 Hurricane Season

As a result of chronic equipment shortages in the Guard, the Army announced June 1 it would either issue or loan 2,600 pieces of equipment to some coastal states, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The contribution is based on equipment shortages identified by Guard commanders in the given states and territories.

The equipment includes relief necessities, such as generators, trucks, Humvees and radios.

Some of the equipment will be permanently assigned to fill shortages at the states, according to Brig. Gen. David Halverson, an Army spokesman.

Equipment on loan is temporarily assigned and positioned within the state and will be returned at the end of hurricane season in November.

The Army started issuing the equipment in May and expects that all will be in place by mid-June, General Halverson said. Right now, a little more than half of the equipment is in place, he said. Some equipment is in transit to Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

General Halverson said that Army officials asked National Guard commanders in March for equipment assessments. With the supplemental equipping, General Halverson said, commanders reported to senior Army leaders that they can manage storms up to Category 3.

Announced on the opening day of hurricane season, officials hope the equipment support will head off potential problems in a season the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts "above normal," with up to five major hurricanes - Category 3 or above.

Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005 was a Category 5 storm.

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