WASHINGTON – When Hurricane Matthew struck late last week, aircraft and crews from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP), Air and Marine Operations (AMO) immediately launched across the country to assist with relief efforts.
Three UH-60 Black Hawk crews and a C-550 Citation crew flew from Tucson, Arizona, to Columbia, South Carolina, while AS350 A-Star crews from Spokane, Washington, and Buffalo, New York, arrived to assist as well. Since Friday, they have collectively flown more than 220 hours throughout North and South Carolina.
AMO has two senior leaders serving as Air Operations Incident Commanders and liaisons for local emergency operation centers in Columbia, South Carolina — where the aircraft and crews are positioned — and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
The UH-60 crews are collecting aerial footage of damaged areas and the vicinity of levees, as North Carolina is forecasted to have extensive record flood waters for several more days. The AS350 crew is conducting a damage assessment analysis and the C-550 crew is providing logistical support flights as needed.
On October 9, an AMO DHC-8 aircrew from the Miami Air and Marine Branch evacuated and relocated 17 CBP personnel, their dependents, and a pet from Freeport, Bahamas, to Homestead Air Reserve Base due to significant damage to their homes and offices caused by Hurricane Matthew.
“Our sincerest thoughts are with those who have suffered a devastating loss during this time,” said Randolph D. Alles, Executive Assistant Commissioner for AMO. “The dozens of AMO employees, including pilots and support personnel, who are tirelessly supporting this effort are tangible examples of AMO’s commitment to serve and protect the American people.”
Amidst the ongoing hurricane relief AMO is conducting, they are also resuming operations at several offices, including those in Jacksonville, Florida; Miami, Florida; and St. Augustine, Florida.
Air and Marine Operations is a federal law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the American people through advanced aeronautical and maritime capabilities.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.