Members of Congress review U.S. Army Reserve recovery efforts in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – Brig. Gen. Dustin A. Shultz, the senior U.S. Army officer in the Caribbean and commanding general of the Army Reserve 1st Mission Support Command, met with U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent and Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Puerto Rico on Tuesday to assess the island’s recovery from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria.
Dent serves as the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Wasserman Schultz is the ranking member of the subcommittee.“You are critical for the recovery of the island. Without the U.S. Army it would be extremely difficult to do all this,” Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida district 23, is quoted in a release by the U.S. Army Reserve.
During their visit, the members of Congress conducted site visits and reviewed the Army Reserve-Puerto Rico and other agencies’ hurricane recovery efforts.
“We owe it to our fellow citizens, many of whom have families in my district, to make certain that their needs for food, shelter, clean water, and power are being met,” Dent, who represents Pennsylvania district 15, adds.
During the meeting, Shultz explained how the Army Reserve delivered “a vast number of capabilities that were desperately needed throughout the island,” as it was put in the release.
“Our engineers opened over 125 miles of roads and we provided health care assistance to over 12,000 patients, more than the patients seen at the USNS Comfort,” said the general, referring to the hospital ship that was deployed to the island for nearly two months. He also provided details about some of the missions the Reserve soldiers completed during the emergency.
During the conversation with the lawmakers, the release says, Shultz explained how the Army Reserve in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico “not only provided great capabilities to citizens on the island, but also continued serving the needs of the nation,” with soldiers from the command “deployed to the Middle East, Cuba” and other countries.
“We formed teams of experts and showed the best of our Army Reserve. We were fortunate to get to serve our communities around the island, working as one team with one mission,” added Shultz, who is the first female general officer in command of the Army Reserve forces in the Caribbean region.
The legislators’ visit gives them a better picture of the state of recovery for the appropriations subcommittee to assess.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth D. Jones, commanding general of the 81st Readiness Division and Col. Guy D. Bass, Fort Buchanan’s garrison commander, also participated in the encounter with the lawmakers.
The Army Reserve’s contingent in the USVI and Puerto Rico is the largest U.S. Army command in the Caribbean and continues to provide unique equipment and expertise in support of disaster recovery operations.