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News | Sept. 7, 2017

DLA Distribution Expeditionary lends support to FEMA Hurricane Harvey relief

By Dawn Bonsell DLA Distribution Public Affairs

A Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Expeditionary (DDXX) team recently deployed to Texas to provide support to U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s wide range of services, supplies, and disaster relief following Hurricane Harvey, a Category-4 hurricane that formed in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Texas with wind speeds of up to 130 miles per hour. Days after the hurricane reached Texas, more than 50 inches of rain flooded the coastal region, bringing record flooding and destruction to the region. 

The first and foremost concern of the DLA Distribution leadership was the safety and well-being of its employees and their families at DLA Distribution, Corpus Christi, Texas. Army Lt. Col. Daniel J. Bidetti conducted an accountability of all 107 DDCT employees, reporting back to Distribution headquarters that all employees and families were accounted for with no serious injuries reported.

Bidetti and his staff were on site within 48 hours to assess the damage. Two DLA Distribution buildings received damage in the hurricane’s sweep across the base. Major damage includes structural damage to one storage building that was condemned as well as major roof and water damage to the administrative building. A damage assessment team from DLA Distribution arrived later in the week, working with Naval Air Station Corpus Christi to address emergency roof repair issues, identify short term facility efforts necessary to occupy facilities, conduct equipment assessment and assist with replacements as necessary.

The DDXX team, led by Army Maj. Jesse Holmes, arrived from New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, and Red River, Texas, at FEMA Incident Support Base JBSA Randolph Auxiliary Airfield, Seguin, Texas to assist with processing contracted trucks carrying supplies including water, meals, blankets and other resources. A DLA Information Operations team also arrived with the mobile emergency response center to establish tactical network and communications, including the Distribution Standard System, an automated information system that manages all functional business processes of DLA’s warehouse operations. These processes include receiving, storage, consolidation, packing, shipping, inventory, inspection and workload management.  

The DDXX team received the materials and loaded them on helicopters and two CH-47 Chinooks for delivery to the hurricane victims. The team has now redeployed to lead another ISB at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, where the team is accepting an average of 250 trucks each day. A total of 52 DLA Distribution personnel are currently supporting the FEMA mission with logistics expertise as well as equipment including the mobile command trailer, a yard truck, forklifts and front-end loaders.

Distribution commanding general Army Brig. Gen. John S. Laskodi arrived in Texas to assess damage at DDCT and visit the DDXX team. “It’s incredible to watch how so many agencies and organizations have joined together to support Texas during this catastrophic disaster. DLA Distribution is only one cog in the wheel working with other DLA agencies and U.S. Northern Command to support FEMA in the overall Federal disaster response. The DDXX team is extremely motivated and the DDCT team is remarkably resilient. I’m so proud to be a part of this great organization.”

Toward the end of August, two U.S. Navy ships, the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge and dock landing ship USS Oak Hill departed from Naval Station Norfolk. DLA Distribution Norfolk, Virginia’s materiel processing center and Pier 8 operations teams demonstrated great responsiveness and flexibility and were instrumental in expediting the movement of supplies from the MPC and Pier 8 staging areas to the ships as well as supporting the load out of the cargo required for the U.S. Marine contingent accompanying the ships. 

As remnants of Harvey continue to affect Texas and Louisiana, FEMA and its federal partners continue to mobilize thousands of personnel and resources to support state, local and tribal efforts throughout the region. This week, an additional DDXX team including support from DLA Distribution, San Joqauin, California, will arrive at FEMA ISB Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base to continue assisting with the FEMA mission. More than 230 shelters are open across the affected and surrounding areas and house tens of thousands of people. DLA Distribution Corpus Christi reopened on August 31, 2017, with the majority of employees returning to work to continue their mission -- processing orders to support the warfighter.