U.S. military staging to react to Hurricane Matthew

13News Now Mike Gooding has the details

NORFOLK,  Va. (WVEC) --The U.S. military is standing by, ready to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
US. Southern Command has already dispatched a team to provide humanitarian and disaster relief. If help is needed in Florida or elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic, resources could be directed there.

 As a precaution, and even though they have not received specific orders, the Pentagon has sent the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier  USS George Washington, the Norfolk-based amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde, and the Norfolk-based hospital ship USNS Comfort to the region.

"Right now, these ships, one of the concerns is to get those ships out of the way of the storm," said Peter Cook, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affair. "So, decisions will be made, based in what the greatest need is and capabilities that certain ships provide, if in fact they're needed at all."

PHOTOS: USS George Washington deploys to aid in Hurricane Matthew relief

It's all part of United States Southern Command's Joint Task Force Bravo, and, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Southern Command.

A team of 100 personnel and 9 helicopters were pre-positioned at Grand Cayman Island.

The mission is in response  to a request by the government of Haiti to provide U.S. disaster relief.  At least 108 people have died there so far.

But it is still very early, and, Category 4 Hurricane Matthew is just reaching the U.S. mainland, and the military assets could be needed elsewhere.

"Of course, the secretary and the command leadership here, decisions will be made as Admiral Tidd spoke  to yesterday, depending on the needs going forward, exactly what impact  the storm has, not only in the Caribbean but also here in the United States," said Cook.

The Pentagon must weigh every request it gets, and determined the best usage of its resources.

"We'll review every single request made to see the best way for the United States government to handle that, whether it's the Department of Defense or one of our inter agency colleagues," said Cook "We'll be working closely with USAID plays a key role in all of this and will continue to."

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