Nearly 700 Marines will head toward the Gulf Coast Thursday aboard the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge in case they are tasked with helping rescue Texas residents who have been slammed by historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
The Kearsarge and the dock landing ship Oak Hill are both scheduled to get underway from ports in Virginia, Fleet Forces Command announced on Wednesday.
“These ships are capable of providing medical support, maritime civil affairs, maritime security, expeditionary logistic support, medium and heavy lift air support, and bring a diverse capability including assessment and security,” a news release from the command says.
Hurricane Harvey left a million residents homeless and stranded in Southeast Texas.
About 690 members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will embark on the Kearsarge along with eight MV-22B Ospreys, three CH-53E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters and three UH-1Y Venom light helicopters, according to II Marine Expeditionary Force.
The Marines will also be able to purify water, distribute relief supplies, conduct aerial reconnaissance and provide engineering capabilities, a II MEF news release says.
“Marines conduct regular training and have gained real-world experience with Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief from relief efforts across the globe,” the news release says.