News: Army Reserve Soldiers provide fuel, other resources for hurricane relief in New York
Story by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
FORT WADSWORTH, N.Y. – As gas station lines grew and fuel supplies shrank in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, soldiers with the Army Reserve’s 353rd Civil Affairs Command established a fuel-supply point here Nov. 6 to make sure emergency vehicles could continue their relief missions.
This was one of several efforts these Soldiers made to assist local communities in recovering from the effects of the 1,000-mile-wide storm that tore its way across the eastern seaboard of the United States in late October.
“We received contact from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the New York City Office of Emergency Management to request use of our property to set up a fuel point,” explained Col. K. E. Kops, deputy commander of the 353rd CACOM. “We coordinated among all the different agencies – the National Park Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, OEM and FEMA – to set that up, and they’ve been operating a fuel point out of the parking lot of our U.S. Army Reserve property.”
In addition to this fuel point, the 353rd CACOM assisted the National Park Service in establishing a second fuel point on Army Reserve property, as well as helping FEMA set up their shower and food trailers.
The unit also used 2.5-ton Army trucks known as LMTVs (Light Medium Tactical Vehicles) to deliver food, water and other donated items to FEMA distribution points and other locations throughout communities in New York City.
“At the request of New York State Senator Marty Golden, we ran three days of relief pickup and distribution missions,” Kops said.
The 353rd CACOM, with support from U.S. Army Reserve Command, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) and the 99th Regional Support Command, helped coordinate these relief efforts while they themselves were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“Immediately following the storm, we had a power outage on the entire Army Reserve property,” Kops said. “In conjunction with the 8th Medical Brigade, we stood up a 24-hour Emergency Operations Center.
“(Once power was restored) we transferred the EOC over to our building so that we could monitor the emergency supply missions as well as the fuel points,” he said.
As a community-based force, the Army Reserve’s facilities and units are located throughout the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. While this proximity put these assets in harm’s way, it also allowed a quick response by the Army Reserve Soldiers who live, work and train in their communities.
“I serve as a detective with the New York City Police Department, and I’ve been in the military for 27 years,” said Capt. Paul Norden, assistant chief of staff for intelligence with the 353rd CACOM. “We’ve been overseas numerous times helping out other countries in their time of need, and being able to help your own community – providing fuel to emergency responders, going out into the community and helping out with relief efforts, bringing supplies to people – that’s one of the most satisfying things we can ever be called upon to do.”
“It’s great knowing that we are contributing,” said Sgt. Tiksehwar Ramrup, human resources specialist with the 353rd CACOM. “We are very proud to know that we are making a big contribution to the hurricane relief effort and assisting the people who really need it.”
Through efforts such as this, the Army Reserve continues to offer aid to its fellow community members as they recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, one neighborhood at a time.
This work, Army Reserve Soldiers provide fuel, other resources for hurricane relief in New York, by SSG Shawn Morris, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.