USS Iwo Jima, USS New York, USS San Jacinto Poised to Support Irma Relief Efforts in Florida

NORFOLK, Va, (NNS) — The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) departed Naval Station Norfolk Sept. 8 to support possible humanitarian relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
The two ships, assigned to Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4, will be joined by the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56).

Iwo Jima and New York pulled into Norfolk Sept. 7 after leaving their Mayport, Florida, homeport to embark a component of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, as well as members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22 and Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8.

All units will be under the command of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, Rear Adm. Samuel Paparo.

These ships and their embarked units are capable of providing medical and logistic support, medium and heavy lift air support, and bring a diverse capability for assessing damage and providing crucial aid.

This is the second time in the past year Iwo Jima has conducted this type of mission; last October, Iwo Jima provided support following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

“Many of the crew had similar experiences last year during Hurricane Matthew,” said Capt. James Midkiff, commanding officer of Iwo Jima. “We will apply lessons learned from our time in Haiti to this event in order to be safer and more efficient this time around.”

The Department of Defense is ready to support FEMA, the lead federal agency, and partner nations as tasked, in helping those affected by Hurricane Irma to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort.

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Rear Adm. PaparoRear Adm. Sam Paparo, a native of Morton, Pennsylvania graduated from Villanova University and was commissioned in July 1987. He holds a Master of Arts in International Studies from Old Dominion University and a Master of Science in Systems Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, the Air War College, the Naval War College and the Joint and Combined Warfighting School. He is a Top Gun graduate and has flown over 6,000 hours in the F-14, F-15 and F/A-18 and 1,100 carrier landings.

Operational command tours include Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195 in the Forward Deployed Naval Forces, Yokosuka, Japan, deploying in Kitty Hawk Strike Group; and Commander, Carrier Air Wing 7, embarked in Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group for combat operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He also commanded Provincial Reconstruction Team, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, executing counter-insurgency operations in eastern Afghanistan with the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Other operational assignments include Fighter Squadron 14, flying the F-14 Tomcat during deployed operations in the Middle East and Balkans with John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Groups and VFA-15, flying the F/A-18 Hornet during deployed operations in Afghanistan with Theodore Roosevelt and Enterprise Strike Groups, and joint service with the U.S. Air Force flying the F-15C Eagle with the 71st Fighter Squadron.

His shore assignments include the staff of Commander, Naval Air Forces, as F/A-18 training, readiness and requirements officer; commanding officer of VFA-106; Programming Division (OPNAV N80) Branch head, Strategy and Resource and Requirements Review Board Branch; Navy corporate fellow in corporate strategy at Lockheed Martin; and battle director at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, Al Udeid, Qatar. Executive staff tours include service as executive assistant to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and executive assistant to the chief of naval operations.

Paparo assumed command of Carrier Strike Group 10 in July 2017.


Miami VA Situation Update


09/08/2017 08:55 AM EDT

Miami VA Healthcare System Status: The Miami VA Healthcare System is now responding to Hurricane Irma. All scheduled appointments are canceled through Monday, Sept. 11 and all community clinics are closed. The Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center is now serving in an emergency response role and all clinics are closed through Monday, Sept. 11.

Reminder: The Miami VA Healthcare System is not a hurricane shelter. This includes the Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center and all its satellite clinics. Please call 311 for local shelter information.


  • Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center – All clinics are closed. Emergency Response only.
  • Key West – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Sunrise – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Deerfield Beach – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Hollywood – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Homestead – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Key Largo – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Pembroke Pines – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Healthcare for Homeless Veterans – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11


  • Fort Lauderdale – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Pompano Beach – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11
  • Miami – Closed through Monday, Sept. 11

PATIENT STATUS: The Miami VA Healthcare System is now responding to Hurricane Irma. All scheduled appointments are canceled through Monday, Sept. 11 and all community clincs are closed. The Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center is now serving in an emergency response role and all clinics are closed through Monday, Sept. 11

EMERGENCY PRESCRIPTION REFILLS FOR VETERANS: VA has activated the Pharmacy Disaster Relief Plan for Miami, Orlando, San Juan, Tampa and West Palm Beach. Eligible Veterans with a VA ID Card needing emergency supply of medications will be able to go to any retail pharmacy open to the public with a written prescription or active VA prescription bottle (not older than 6 months and with refills available) to receive at least a 10 day supply.  Note:  This does not include controlled substances.  Patients must present a valid VA ID Card.

If a Veteran is displaced, and has lost their medication and no longer has a written prescription or bottle, they can contact the Health Resources Center Disaster Hotline at 1 800 507 4571 to speak with a representative. The representative will qualify the request by asking a few questions and provide the Veteran with their prescription number. The Miami VAHS Pharmacy phone number is 305-575-3376.

SHELTER INFORMATION: The Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center in downtown Miami IS NOT a shelter. For evacuation and shelter information, please visit the websites below.

Sign up for automatic email updates by filling in your email address in the ‘Emergency Email Updates’ section located at the top right corner of this page.

You may also check the Miami VA Healthcare System social media accounts on Facebook* and Twitter* for the latest information about operating status.

Employees should visit the Work Status for Employees page for more information.

Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed.

Visit* to learn about disaster preparedness kits, family emergency plans, and more. Florida State Hurricane information can be found at*.

Hurricane Irma

Operation Sacred Trust will do everything in our hands to be there for Florida’s Veterans before, during and after the hurricane.

Getting ready for a storm involves lots of details. Fridge-free food. Water. Medications. Batteries. Insurance. Evacuations and flood zones. Boat storage.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the list of things to do as we track an approaching storm’s path.

To help, we’ve compiled checklists by topic.

Keep up to date with forecasts and tracking maps:

Keep up to date with community response at:

Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Program

The Emergency and Evacuation Assistance Program (EEAP) is for eligible individuals in Miami-Dade County who need evacuation assistance and/or sheltering or who would like to receive a wellness call after a disaster, if an evacuation was not necessary for the individual’s location. Eligible applicants will be assigned to an emergency evacuation center appropriate for the level of care required. These centers are also available for those under the age of 18 who require a specialized level of care.


The EEAP may be used for emergencies and potentially hazardous events that occur in Miami-Dade County, such as hurricanes or tornadoes.

Evacuation and Shelter Information (Broward)

Emergency management websites

Hurricane apps

The last time South Florida was walloped by a hurricane, apps were not even invented yet. And in a related digital development, Google said Thursday that it has enhanced its weather forecasts and Public Alerts in Google Search to better track hurricanes. Now, when you search the web about particular storms, you might see a map showing your location in relation to the oncoming storm, visualizations of its forecasted track, wind severity and arrival time according to NOAA, and instructions for preparing and staying safe, from FEMA and

Here is a sampling of apps you may want to download:

NOAA Radar US: Everything you need in an app for viewing animated weather radar images and hyperlocal storm patterns. $1.99 (for iPhone and iPad).

Hurricane App by the Red Cross: The free app for iPhone and Android helps you stay up to date with NOAA alerts, along with providing a way to connect with friends and family and let them know you are OK. It also has a flashlight, strobe and alarm. There is a second free app with first-aid advice for situations ranging from anaphylactic shock to heart attacks. To download both apps, visit: rricane-app.

The Weather Channel Apps: The go-to source for all things weather-related offers free apps for iPhone/iPad and Android.

Dark Sky: Using state-of-the-art technology to predict weather events down to the minute at your exact location, the app has its fans. Its animated visualizations promote hurricanes to an art form. $3.99 (iPhone/iPad).

15 things to do in a Hurricane Watch

  1. Begin listening for storm updates or check National Hurricane Center updates at
  2. Fill vehicle gas tank and keep it topped off. Make sure the battery is in good condition.
  3. Fill propane tanks for gas grills and camp stoves.
  4. Check your battery-powered equipment. A radio could be your only link with the outside world during and after a hurricane.
  5. Review your preparedness plan with your household.
  6. Pick two places for your family to meet: a spot outside your home in case of emergency, such as fire, and a place away from your neighborhood, in case you can’t return home.
  7. Establish an out-of-town phone number with family or friends to relay messages about your whereabouts after the storm.
  8. Refill prescriptions.
  9. Stock canned foods (that do not need to be cooked), soft drinks and water. (If stores are out of water, clean and fill tubs, pots, and containers in your home.)
  10. Collect medical and property insurance papers, immunization records and medical records of anyone with special needs in a rugged, waterproof container. Include a few cherished mementos. If you move to “safe room” or evacuate to a shelter, take these items with you.
  11. If you are not in an evacuation zone, determine your “safe room” or a room that is away from windows and has walls close together (often an indoor bathroom or closet).
  12. Put shutters, window (board windows from outside) and door protection in place if instructed by local officials.
  13. Do not trim branches or limbs from trees. These could become dangerous missiles if picked up by the wind.
  14. Locate the turn-off valves for electricity, water and gas.
  15. Inspect and secure mobile home tie-downs.

11 things to do in a Hurricane Warning

  1. Fill bathtubs, pots, and jugs with water. Figure on using a gallon of water per person per day.
  2. Turn refrigerator and freezer settings to the coldest levels. Freeze water in plastic containers.
  3. Bring in any outdoor objects that could become projectiles in high winds: mailboxes, garbage cans, lawn furniture and garden tools. Anchor anything that cannot be brought inside.
  4. Install shutters or cover all your windows and doors (boarding windows and using sand bags, etc). Install braces on your garage doors if they do not meet the building code.
  5. Keep all windows closed during the storm.
  6. Disconnect natural gas to individual appliances at the supply valves near each unit. Do not turn off the main gas line. Disconnect propane gas to individual appliances.
  7. Remove external antennas.
  8. Remove valuable pictures and bric-a-brac from walls.
  9. Wedge sliding glass doors with a bar.
  10. Draw drapes and blinds.
  11. Gather your hurricane kit and stay in your safe room. Essentials for the room include your hurricane kit, sturdy shoes, something to cover your head such as a pillow or mattress and a fire extinguisher.

5 Food Things to Know

  1. Water: Plan to stock seven gallons of water per person. That should be enough for drinking and cooking for a week. You can buy bottled water, or, if you prefer, fill recycled glass bottles that you rinse with a little bleach. Don’t reuse plastic bottles; they can’t be made clean enough. When the storm approaches, fill buckets, the sink and tub with water to use for cleaning and washing only.
  2. Nonperishable food: Think crackers, string cheese, mini-cut carrots and salsa, hummus with bagel chips, unsalted baked chips, sliced apples or grapes and protein bars. Unsweetened cereals make crunchy healthy snacks as well as quick meals at times besides breakfast. Look for tuna in single-serving cans or pouches. Pork and beans comes in a variety of flavors, including country style, Boston recipe and vegetarian. And stock up on single servings of shelf-stable puddings, fruits and gelatins. Just remember to have a can opener.
  3. Food storage: Store all your emergency supplies in one place. Now is the time to start using the chops, steaks and other foods in your freezer. After the storm — when the refrigerator may not be working — have two large coolers or ice chests available. Place items you want to access often such as fruit and water bottles in one cooler; place longer-term items in the other cooler.
  4. Cooking: Stock up on charcoal or propane for your outdoor grill. Keep the grill away from an enclosed area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. A butane burner or camp stove is good for boiling water, but use only outdoors.
  5. Serving: Consume fresh fruits and vegetables and cook up any meats first. These will be the fastest items to spoil when the power goes out.

How to Care for Pets

Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties have information available on their websites that list pet shelter options and other resources.

Information on how to handle animals before and after a storm is available through the National Hurricane Center at

For large animals, visit out/departments/ disaster_preparedness.html.

To safeguard a pet during the hurricane season visit ASPCA at disaster-preparedness.

To find a boarding veterinary hospital in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, visit the South Florida Veterinary Medical Association at In Broward, visit the Broward County Veterinary Medical Association at http://browardcounty

9 Ways to Guard Your Yard

▪ Don’t trim before a storm; you will create dangerous projectiles.

▪ Remove coconuts, fronds and pick any fruit from trees.

▪ Bring potted plants and lawn furniture indoors.

▪ Stake small trees by driving rebar, wood or plastic stakes at least eight inches into the ground and attach them to the tree with rope or soft plastic bands.

▪ Cut back vines on fences so they don’t pull the structure over in high winds.

After the storm:

▪ Hose down any part of the landscape subjected to salt spray.

▪ Cut back broken branches to where there is clear wood.

▪ Raise downed trees if they are newly planted or have a trunk diameter less than four inches. For larger trees, consult a tree service.

▪ To replant, enlarge the hole, trim the roots, stand the tree back up and fill the hole with the original soil, tamping it down to remove air pockets. Stake the tree for a year and water it every other day for at least two weeks.

10 Tips on Keeping Safe While Powering Up

If a storm zaps power, crank up the generator safely:

▪ Keep a generator at least 10 feet from the opening to any building.

▪ Do not run it inside your house or garage, even if you have doors and windows open. If you live in a multi-unit building, don’t run it on your balcony — it’s too close to your living areas and to your neighbors’ homes.

▪ Never run a generator on grass, or on a metal surface. Use a concrete pad, and elevate the generator if you’re in a flood-prone area. Make sure the surface is dry before starting a generator, and always dry your hands before touching it.

▪ Read your generator’s manual carefully. Follow all directions and pay close attention to the electrical load rating. Make sure the generator is grounded.

▪ Use a heavy gauge, outdoor-rated extension cord to run into the house to power your refrigerator or other appliances. Be sure the extension cord can handle the wattage you send through it.

▪ Do not connect the generator to your home wiring system, fuse box or circuit breaker unless you have an electrician install a transfer switch. If not correctly connected, the power can flow outside the house to the power lines and fatally injure workers trying to restore power.

▪ Don’t exceed the recommended wattage. Don’t try to run high-wattage items like the air conditioner, an electric stove or hot water heater unless you’re sure your generator can handle it.

▪ Turn off all connected appliances before starting your generator. Let the unit reach operating speed before connecting anything. Start the largest electric appliance first, then plug in other items, one at a time.

▪ Never refuel a generator while it is running or still hot.

▪ Disconnect electrical loads before turning off the engine. Don’t allow the engine to run out of gas while appliances are connected.

“Miami Herald Staff Writers Nancy Dahlberg, Angel Doval and Carli Teproff contributed to this report.”

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