News | Sept. 24, 2020

Contingency IT Team supports Hurricane Laura response

By Amber McSherry

The Defense Logistics Agency’s Contingency Information Technology Team provided tactical communications for DLA Energy employees supporting Hurricane Laura response efforts in Louisiana through Sept. 12. Members of the team deployed to Fort Hood, Texas, to support DLA Energy’s expeditionary team, Task Force Americas, before the Category 4 hurricane made landfall Aug. 27.

CIT team members Jimmie Warren and John Trask moved DLA’s Mobile Emergency Response Center to Fort Hood from Warner Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The MERC provides network connectivity for up to 20 devices regardless of local conditions.

Warren and Trask set up the MERC’s satellite and connected computers, phones and printers to enable communication between TFA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I thought it went really smooth,” Trask said. “We’ve done this at our home base enough that it was second nature.”

CIT support allowed TFA and FEMA to coordinate the arrival of fuel trucks before the hurricane made landfall just east of the Texas border in Louisiana. The trucks were there and ready to deploy to responders in the disaster area.

“That’s the key to what we do – we’re always outside of the storm to provide close support for TFA and FEMA,” Warren said.

The fuel support mission later moved to Lake Charles due to excessive damage in that area. DLA’s Mobile Command Vehicle, which has similar functions as the MERC but additional working space, relieved the MERC there. CIT team members John Wolk and Christina Kail took over operations and brought satellite communications online so TFA could resume fuel management.

The CIT capability is critical to TFA’s ability to provide immediate response to warfighters and federal agencies, added Army Lt. Col. Julian Perez, commander of DLA Energy Americas East.

“Without them, TFA is not able to communicate with our higher headquarters in an effective and efficient matter,” he said.