Wed, Dec 29, 2004
C-130s and P-3s On The Way
U.S. Pacific Command is
sending a forward command element (FCE) to Utapao, Thailand, to
establish the command, control and communication structure for
Joint Task Force 536 (JTF 536).
Thailand's decision to allow use of this Thai military facility
is welcomed. The U.S. intends to use, with Thailand's cooperation,
this military facility as a regional support center for emergency
and medical personnel providing assistance throughout the region as
well as a staging area for U.S. military and rescue aircraft,
forensic experts, and other relief assistance.
The FCE and follow-on JTF will coordinate U.S. military relief
efforts in the region. The FCE and JTF will work with the U.S.
Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development,
host nations and humanitarian relief agencies to identify
requirements and coordinate relief efforts.
The focus of the mission will be to prevent further loss of life
and human suffering by expeditiously applying resources to the
overall relief effort.
The FCE team is comprised mainly of personnel from the III Marine
Expeditionary Force. Additional personnel will be deployed from
other locations in the Pacific command area of responsibility.
U.S. military relief efforts include:
- U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo aircraft in Yokota, Japan, loaded
with relief supplies are expected to deploy to Utapao, Royal Thai
Air Force Base, Thailand.
- U.S. Navy deployed P-3 aircraft from Kadena, Japan, to operate
in the vicinity of Thailand with Utapao, Royal Thai Air Force Base,
serving as a hub for operations.
- Other forces enroute to
the region that could be committed to relief efforts, if necessary,
include USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, including USS
Shoup, USS Shiloh, USS Benfold, and USNS Ranier and USS Bonhomme
Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, including USS Duluth, USS
Milius, USS Rushmore, USS Thach, USS Pasadena and USCG Munro.
- U.S. Air Force will deploy KC-135 aircraft from Japan and Guam
to provide assistance as directed.
U.S. military exercises often include training for humanitarian
assistance. This humanitarian assistance training helps ensure the
U.S. military is able to rapidly respond as directed to support
The Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command will continue to
review resources available and direct forces as necessary to
provide authorized humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to
affected nations in the region.
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