More than 60 military aircraft assisting in the government's Harvey disaster response

Key Points
  • From large transport planes to Blackhawk helicopters, the massive government response effort to Harvey includes more than 60 military aircraft in total.
  • The Navy also is readying several amphibious ships that could get orders to deploy at any time.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated all of the state's National Guard, resulting in about 12,000 troops available.
Texas National Guard soldiers aid residents in heavily flooded areas in Houston, August 27, 2017.
Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD | Texas Military Department | Reuters

More than 60 military aircraft are involved in the Harvey disaster response effort, and the Navy is making preparations to send ships.

At the same time, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated all of the state's National Guard, resulting in about 12,000 troops available in the state. There also are troop units from other states, including Arizona, California, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Kentucky and Oklahoma, among others.

The U.S. Air National Guard also has aircraft and troops assisting in urban search and rescue efforts in Houston, the nation's fourth largest city. The National Weather Service is forecasting more rain and river flooding for the next few days from what is now a mega tropical storm.

"Continuing rainfall from the hurricane is expected to cause devastating and life-threatening flooding throughout this week," Army Col. Robert Manning told the media in a briefing Monday.

The state and federal response to the disaster also includes emergency supplies, including food, water, medical and other supplies. President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday to see some of the damage firsthand.

The U.S. Coast Guard, which operates under Department of Homeland Security, had at least 20 helicopters operating earlier in the day in the greater Houston area and reported that air and ground teams had rescued more than 1,450 people by 2 p.m. ET.

A Texas National Guard soldier carries a woman on his back as they conduct rescue operations in flooded areas around Houston.
1Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD | Texas Military Department | Reuters

"The Coast Guard is continuing to work with all federal, state and local agencies for rescue operations in the Houston area," Vice Adm. Karl Schultz, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, said in a release. "We have pulled assets and resources from across the country to create a sustainable force."

Added the commander, "This is a united effort that is still in the early stages and we are focused on the safety of those in the affected area and saving lives."

Overall, more than 60 aircraft are assisting in the Harvey effort. Among other assets going to the relief are:

  • The Department of Defense deployed search and rescue teams, including planners, as well as nine search and rescue rotary wing aircraft and two fixed wing aircraft.
  • There also are 16 aircraft from Texas National Guard conducting day and night wide area search and rescue missions along the Texas coast from Corpus Christi to Houston. The aircraft assets include 10 Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopters and other aircraft.
  • The New York Air National Guard has provided one Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft, two Boeing C-17s military transport aircraft and three helicopters.
  • The California Air National Guard deployed four aircraft this afternoon, including helicopters and fixed-wing planes, as well as a team of search and rescue specialists.
  • Also, there are six rotary wing inbound from Utah, Nebraska and North Carolina Army National Guard.
  • There also are currently using about 200 Humvees, 218 high-water vehicles, 15 wreckers, and 19 fuel vehicles.
  • The Defense Logistics Agency provided logistics support and management as well as 11 generators and fuel.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers also has extensive resources on the ground in Texas to help deal with the Harvey crisis, including crews to conduct controlled releases of water from swollen reservoirs.

Finally, at least two Navy amphibious ships were making preparations late Monday to respond to the disaster. It's also possible the Navy will move other ships into the area, but government sources said nothing was finalized.