Northcom Supporting Hurricane Irma Response

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U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs via CNN

Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, ordered the Lincoln, the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York to leave Norfolk, Virginia, and be in position to provide humanitarian relief in support of federal, state and local authorities if requested, the Navy said in a statement.

The two ships, assigned to Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4, will be joined by the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56).

Iwo Jima and NY departed Mayport, Florida, on September 5 and took on supplies at Norfolk and more than 300 Marines and sailors with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, and II Marine Expeditionary Force.

1st Class Frank Coger prepares for activation in support of Hurricane Irma, at St. Augustine, Fla., Sept. 7, 2017.

Despite its downgrade to a Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center said Friday that the storm remained "extremely dangerous" with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour and was expected to hit the Florida mainland early Sunday as a "major" and "life-threatening" hurricane. They also are transporting people and supplies to the affected areas with medium and heavy lift helicopters.

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According to the latest data, the victims of this hurricane have become 18.

The Category 4 storm, one of the strongest hurricanes ever reported in the Atlantic, made its first landfall on the island of Barbuda as a Category 5 hurricane on Wednesday and is expected to hit Florida Saturday night.

"It's not a question of if Florida's going to be impacted", said Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. National Guardsmen from as far away as California have been mobilized in anticipation of the storm, National Guard Bureau officials said yesterday. During that time, "you're on your own", Mayor George Neugent of Monroe County told CNN.

Puerto Rico, meanwhile, activated its 5,200 National Guard troops, while the U.S. Virgin Islands activated its almost 700-member unit, according to the Pentagon.

And the Coast Guard began transferring helicopters from Harvey response efforts to Florida and Puerto Rico last week.

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Officials predict Irma will bring heavy rains and possible 12-foot storm surges in some parts of Florida, requiring military ships, aircraft and thousands of troops to help in evacuation, rescue and response efforts. "The mission will be to go where others cannot to rescue and aid any civilian personnel we can".

Texas Gov. Scott Abbott (R) activated the entire Texas National Guard to respond Harvey, with out-of-state guards units and the Coast Guard also stepping in.

The USS Kearsarge, USS Wasp and USS Oak Hill, along with the Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are conducting a large offload of relief supplies in the U.S. Virgin Islands while continuing to conduct air operations.

Approximately 1,000 U.S. Marines are now embarked aboard two U.S. Navy ships as part of the Department of Defense effort to support relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Irma, Sept. 8, 2017.

Assets from U.S. Transportation Command and the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp evacuated patients from St. Thomas to St. Croix and Puerto Rico for hospital care.

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