Panetta Puts Troops on Standby for Hurricane Irene


With about 101,000 National Guard members ready to assist eastern seaboard states in Hurricane Irene’s path, the National Guard Command Center in Arlington, Va., seen here Aug. 26, 2011, is monitoring the storm and National Guard support to civilian authorities around the clock. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has issued a prepare-to-deploy order for 6,500 active-duty service members from all of the services to support hurricane relief efforts if ordered, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Saturday.

On requests from states for the department to provide hurricane relief assistance, Little added, it has taken the secretary an average of five to seven minutes to approve them.

U.S. Northern Command is coordinating the Defense Department’s support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and to state and local hurricane response efforts along the East Coast.

Northcom is now supporting 16 FEMA-requested mission assignments, command officials said.

Over the past 24 hours, the command has designated Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia as a FEMA federal staging facility for support to hurricane disaster operations in Virginia.

You can read the full American Forces Press Service story by Cheryl Pellerin HERE.

Flag Lowered at Walter Reed Early Due to Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene pushed up the closing of Walter Reed Medical Center. The last remaining patients were transferred to Bethesda today. The Navy Facebook reports that more than 100 patients were moved without incident and the flag was lowered for good at the 102-year-old Army hospital earlier Saturday.

VA Emergency Response for Hurricane Irene information is available at VA Emergency website.

Veterans and their families may call 800-507-4571 for information and assistance about VA facilities.

For additional information regarding specific VA facilities, visit the local VA Medical Center website, or the Facilities Locator, and/or sign-up for email updates.

Additional information may be found on VA’s blog – VAntage Point.

Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.  Visit to learn about preparedness kits, family emergency plans, and more.

VA Employee Emergency Information

VA employees may call 1-866-233-0152 for assistance and information about VA facilities.

During an emergency, please use the Employee Emergency Information Form to post information about you and your status.

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