Gulf Strike Team assists with Hurricane Harvey rescue and recovery efforts

Petty Officer 1st Class Derek Weatherly, a member of the Atlantic Strike Team, assists with search and rescue efforts in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard/Released)

Petty Officer 1st Class Derek Weatherly, a member of the Atlantic Strike Team, assists with search and rescue efforts in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard)

MOBILE, Ala. — Located at Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team, along with other members of the Coast Guard National Strike Force, are playing an integral role in the Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Harvey. The National Strike Force, which also comprises the Atlantic Strike Team and Pacific Strike Team, assumes a vast number of responsibilities, supporting not only the Coast Guard, but also the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, and pre-designated federal on-scene coordinators.

Initially, five Gulf Strike Team members deployed to Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi prior to Harvey making landfall to immediately assist in rescue efforts. They are currently conducting post storm assessment in the area.

As the hurricane veered east in the form of a tropical storm, 11 members of the National Strike Force quickly deployed to Houston, along with other assets that included four jon boats and four all-terrain vehicles to assist with maritime search and rescue.

As of Aug. 31, 2017, the Gulf Strike Team and members of the National Strike Force have saved about 700 people, including those besieged by the easterly flowing storm that ravaged Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas. As the floodwaters recede and the rescue phase winds down, the National Strike Force’s operational focus is now on pollution and hazmat assessment.

“We’re locating areas of concern with regards to pollution, including facilities or boats that are leaking oil, and contamination caused by the devastating flood,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jim Litzinger, head of operations for the Gulf Strike Team. “This is a timely, methodical process that we will see to the end.”

Cmdr. JoAnne Hanson, the commanding officer of the Gulf Strike Team, summed up the commitment of the National Strike Force when she stated, “We will be there to support the state of Texas and the entire Gulf Coast region for however long it takes to rebuild and restore.”

For imagery and video of the Hurricane Harvey response, please visit the our Flickr page.

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