USA — Military Support Continues on Gulf Coast

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2010 — Mil­i­tary sup­port con­tin­ues today as part of an inter­a­gency response force that’s work­ing to clean up an oil spill in the Gulf of Mex­i­co.

The Air Force flew six aer­i­al spray oper­a­tion sor­ties yes­ter­day with C‑130 Her­cules air­craft to help in neu­tral­iz­ing the oil spill with dis­pers­ing agents. Ten more sor­ties are sched­uled in the com­ing days, Pen­ta­gon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Robert Ditchey said today.

The two C‑130 crews are assigned to the 910th Air­lift Wing’s 757th Air­lift Squadron based at Youngstown Air Reserve Sta­tion, Ohio. They are deployed to and oper­at­ing out of Sten­nis Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, Miss.

Mean­while, the Navy is sus­tain­ing logis­ti­cal sup­port, equip­ment and assis­tance in skim­ming and sal­vage oper­a­tions. The Navy has pro­vid­ed 66,000 feet of inflat­able oil boom with moor­ing equip­ment, 16 rapid deploy­ment skim­mer sys­tems and 44 con­trac­tors to assist in the efforts.

The Naval Con­struc­tion Bat­tal­ion Cen­ter in Gulf­port, Miss., has received the Navy equip­ment at the Mis­sis­sip­pi State Dock. The equip­ment will be deployed as nec­es­sary. On-scene coor­di­na­tors in sup­port of the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty and the Coast Guard are coor­di­nat­ing this effort, Ditchey said.

Also, Naval Air Sta­tion Pen­saco­la, Fla., is act­ing as a stag­ing facil­i­ty for BP con­trac­tor-pro­vid­ed equip­ment, such as con­tain­ment booms, recov­ery barges, trac­tor-trail­er trucks, pumps and oth­er equip­ment, he added.

BP low­ered a pol­lu­tion-con­tain­ment dome about 500 feet above the sea floor last night. The next step will be to con­nect the cof­fer­dam to a ship on the sur­face to sal­vage the spilled oil. May 9 is the ear­li­est Pen­ta­gon offi­cials expect the dome to be oper­a­tional, Ditchey said.

The gov­er­nors of Mis­sis­sip­pi, Louisiana, Flori­da and Alaba­ma have declared states of emer­gency. More than 1,000 Nation­al Guard sol­diers and Air Nation­al Guard per­son­nel have been called to action along the Gulf Coast.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)