By Sandi Gohn

As Hurricane Dorian threatens the South Carolina coast this morning, the Coast Guard and National Guard stand ready to provide disaster relief — and the USO will be by their side, just like we have been in hurricane seasons before.

Hurricane Dorian Turns to the East Coast, Prompting National Guard Activations

An aerial view of houses in the Bahamas from a Coast Guard Elizabeth City C-130 aircraft after Hurricane Dorian shifts north on Sept. 3, 2019. | Photo credit DVIDS/Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Stanton

After battering the Bahamas earlier this week, Hurricane Dorian set its path towards the U.S. mid-Atlantic shore, forcing Virginia, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina all to declare states of emergency ahead of the storm’s East Coast landfall. Many of those states have also activated their National Guard.

“There are more than 5,500 National Guard members in four states, ready to provide full-spectrum recovery and support to all those impacted by Hurricane Dorian,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau in a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

The South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida National Guard are positioning soldiers and airmen ahead of the hurricane as it proceeds along its path, Lengyel said.

“[Guard members] will be poised to work and ready for their communities and states – from the inception of preparation, through the response, through the recovery – until the [local first] responders can handle this without any military assistance,” Lengyel said.

Mobile USO Centers Ready to Deploy

As the National Guard activates, and Coast Guard members continue to conduct search and rescues, the USO is working hand-in-hand with the military to provide support to all service members working in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 4, Mobile USO Program staff have prepped two of their Mobile USO vehicles (one in each of the Carolinas) to move into the disaster zone to support activated troops.

Jeff Hill, USO Regional Vice President in the Eastern U.S., says two other Mobile USO centers in Ohio and New York also stand ready, if needed.

USO Staff Provides Care Packages, Other Support

In addition to prepping Mobile USO centers to deploy, USO staff across the East Coast have stepped up to support the thousands of service members working during Hurricane Dorian.

According to the USO South Carolina’s Facebook page, in the first two days of Hurricane Dorian prep they provided:

  • 820 cups of coffee
  • 45 cheese danish
  • 62 bagels
  • 96 bottles of water
  • 15 blueberry muffins
  • 42 cups of cereal
  • 24 packages of Oreos
  • 16 bananas

Staffers also headed to the Coast Guard’s staging area in Charleston yesterday to provide snacks and water.

Additionally, Hill says 608 Toiletry Packs and 1680 Snack Packs are being shipped to USO South Carolina to provided much-needed essentials to service members.