Katrina’s Aftermath: NAVFAC on the Scene
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Damage Assessment Teams (DATs) from across the nation deployed to Gulf Coast naval installations ravaged by Hurricane Katrina Aug 31/05, even as other US military assets prepare to move south.
Twenty-four hours after Hurricane Katrina came ashore in New Orleans, NAVFAC DATs were in route to the Gulf Coast naval installations with structural and mechanical engineers, architects, roofing specialists and construction contract specialists from NAVFAC commands in Charleston, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Norfolk, VA; Port Hueneme, CA; Great Lakes, IL; and Washington, DC. Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL will be the staging area for the teams as they move westward into the affected areas. The teams, traveling by trucks or vans, will use military air transportation as necessary to get to their destinations.
While Lt. Cmdr. Darren Sweet’s team from NAVFAC Southern Division in Charleston, SC is assessing the damages, Capt. Paul Walden, Navy Region Southeast Regional Engineer, will be sending another NAVFAC team to Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, MS. This team will ensure the installation operations and facilities are able to meet mission readiness which will include securing U.S. government property, restoration of basic installation functions such as opening roadways, sanitation, water, electricity and communications.
“Our priorities are focused on the personal health and safety of our Sailors, their families, Navy civilians and other impacted citizens,” said Walden.
It goes without saying that restoring these facilities as quickly as possible will also play an important role in local relief efforts by the U.S. military.
Among the installations NAVFAC will aid with engineering damage assessment are Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base New Orleans; Naval Support Activity New Orleans; Naval Station Gulfport, MS; Naval Station Pascagoula, MS; and Stennis Space Center, MS.
In addition, the Navy Public Works Center Jacksonville Transportation Department coordinated transportation for medical personnel, who will be assisting in the disaster area.