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calendar   Thursday - September 01, 2005

Send In The Marines!

imageimageWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The military will increase the National Guard force in the hurricane-ravaged U.S. Gulf states to 30,000 amid growing lawlessness in New Orleans and mounting relief needs, and it dispatched an aircraft carrier to the region, officials said on Thursday. This would bring to nearly 50,000 the number of part-time Guard and active-duty military personnel committed to the biggest domestic relief and security effort in U.S. history after Monday’s onslaught by killer Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana and Mississippi were hardest hit.

“We will not tolerate lawlessness, or violence, or interference with the evacuation” of New Orleans, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff told a news conference. “I’m satisfied that we have ... more than enough forces there and on the way.” Army Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, head of the Pentagon’s National Guard Bureau, said an additional 4,200 military police troops would be moved into New Orleans over three days and would be under command of the governor and state officials.

“This is not martial law,” Blum told the news conference, adding that the Guard members would only support local law enforcement officials. Each U.S. state has its own part-time National Guard force, which traditionally is at the command of the state’s governor to mobilize for emergency duties ranging from police work to disaster response. The Navy said it was sending the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman to join an armada of vessels off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The Air Force said it was adding a high-flying U-2 spy plane to the relief effort to take pictures to help relief efforts at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Navy also said the hospital ship USNS Comfort, based in Baltimore, is expected to set sail by Saturday and reach the region in seven days. The floating hospital has 12 operating rooms and up to 1,000 patient beds, but will be configured initially for 250 beds, the Navy said. It will first stop in Florida to load additional medical supplies and personnel. Army officials said they were preparing for the possibility of deploying larger numbers of active-duty troops to the stricken region, but no deployment orders on that scale had been issued. “Units have been informed to stand by in anticipation of future requirements,” said Army spokesman Paul Boyce. “That has happened throughout the southeastern United States. No word on numbers at this time, merely that a number of units have been given a standby heads-up.”


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 09/01/2005 at 07:26 PM   
Filed Under: • Military •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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