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Reflecting on 2022 partnerships: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division’s response to Ian

Aaron Stormant, ESF #3 ATL, SAD, Erik Hooks, Deputy Administrator, FEMA, Kimberly Adkins, ESF #3 ATL, TAD and Noel Gniady-Bandford, Operations Section Chief, FEMA Region IV RRCC in Atlanta, Ga. during Adkins Oct. 2022 mobilization to support the multi-agency response to Hurricane Ian.

Posted on January 23, 2023

Five team members assigned to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division partnered with hundreds of personnel from federal, state and local agencies, nongovernment organizations and private organizations to respond to Hurricane Ian in October 2022.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) personnel routinely respond to disasters, however, what made this response unique was it was the first-time the Transatlantic Division was tasked with responding to a natural disaster within the United States, according to Kimberly Adkins, Chief of Current Operations, USACE Transatlantic Division.

“In 2021, USACE assigned us to support the USACE South Atlantic Division (SAD) for disaster response,” she explained. “Since then, we participated in multiple tabletop exercises and integrated with the team in preparation for something like this.”

While the Transatlantic Division’s mission is to support the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command areas of operation, they are proud to answer the call when support is needed at home. Under the National Response Framework, USACE is the primary agency responsible for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #3: Engineering and Public Works.

The contingent deployed on short notice to a variety of locations across the Southeast to support the response. Duty locations and positions included:
• Kimberly Adkins, Emergency Support Function (ESF) #3 Assistant Team Leader (ATL) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IV Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC), Atlanta, Ga.
• Todd Hasbrouck, Operations Officer, SAD Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Atlanta, Ga.
• Ray Langdale, ESF #3 ATL, State of Florida Initial Operations Facility, Tallahassee, Fl.
• Carey Grubbs, Operations Officer, SAD EOC, Atlanta, Ga.
• Kimberly Baker, Operations Officer, USACE Jacksonville District, Jacksonville, Fl.

Adkins and Langdale are members of a national cadre with expertise in ESF #3 and disaster response, while the others deployed as individual augmentees providing their expertise to SAD. They supported Emergency Operations Centers, provided mission analysis, enabled response operations and more.

“Team members were assisting in managing USACE’s response so the personnel on the ground could provide USACE temporary power, temporary roofing, infrastructure assessment, and critical public facilities support to those impacted by the storm,” she said.

The Transatlantic Division’s history of working with multiple government organizations, often in times of critical need, in some of the toughest environments in the world proved beneficial to the overall response efforts.

“TAD is USACE’s tip of the spear when it comes to supporting warfighters downrange during contingency operations. We step up and get the job done in some intense conditions, so it was really amazing to get to use that experience and expertise to support our folks back home during a tough time like a hurricane,” said Adkins.

“I also enjoy partnering with other agencies,” said Adkins. “Every time I deploy, I learn something new about our capabilities and our partner capabilities. We interact together to bring our combined knowledge to solve problems.”

All of that knowledge Adkins says she brings back to her full-time position in Winchester, Va.

Adkins said she would ‘definitely’ volunteer again to support emergency operations missions.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a major Army command with a broad set of missions and capabilities. One of its missions is to provide assistance, within its authorities, when natural disasters or other emergencies occur.

The Transatlantic Division along with its two districts, the Transatlantic Middle East District and the Transatlantic Expeditionary District support this mission when called upon.


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