Airmen assigned to 633rd Medical Group assemble medical tents to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the recovery process after the devastation created by Hurricane Maria in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Oct. 16, 2017. Army photo by Sgt. Nelson Rodriguez


DALLAS, Texas — A 450-person Navy Medical Unit has been put on "Prepare to Deploy" orders and will soon deploy to north Texas and Louisiana, according to U.S. Northern Command.

"U.S. Northern Command, in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is leading the Department of Defense’s operations to COVID-19 efforts in the continental United States," according to a press release from U.S. Northern Command.

The 450-person Navy Medical Unit will soon deploy from Jacksonville, Florida, to the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area and New Orleans, Louisiana, to "expand the medical capabilities in those states in the next few days."

Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a pop-up hospital, or Alternative Care Site (ACS), at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas in the event COVID-19 cases surge beyond the current hospital capacity. Initially, the ACS will deploy 250 beds with the capability of deploying 1,400 beds.

Additional ACS sites are being identified throughout the state, according to Abbott.

“Our Commander in Chief has declared war on COVID-19," stated Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. "We are a part of that as a whole-of-America, whole-of-nation approach, and we are incredibly proud to be a part of that mission.”

“There is nothing more sacred than being right here at home defending the homeland,” he stated.

The hospital ship USNS Mercy arrived in the Port of Long Beach, outside of Los Angeles, on Friday, March 27, 2020, and received its first patient earlier today. Her sister ship, the USNS Comfort, is scheduled to arrive in New York City tomorrow, according to Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy.

Both the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy have the ability to host up to 1,000 patients. This includes 12 operating rooms, 20 post-anesthesia beds and 80 Intensive Care Unit beds, according to NORTHCOM.

Additional Department of Defense support through the U.S. Northern Command to FEMA includes, but is not limited to:

Deploying three Army field hospitals

The 627th Hospital Center from Ft. Carson, Colorado, with the ability to provide up to 248 beds beginning 2 April, deployed to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington in support of medical efforts in the Seattle area.

The 531st Hospital Center from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, with the ability to provide up to 148 beds beginning 2 April, deployed to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey in support of medical efforts in the New York City area.

The 9th Hospital Center from Ft. Hood, Texas, with the ability to provide 136 beds beginning 2 April, deployed to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey in support of medical efforts in the New York City area.

Activated Dual-Status Commanders, Title 10 deputies and Joint Enabling Capability teams to Washington, New York and California.

A DSC gives a state National Guard unit the ability to command both State National Guard members as well as active-duty military members to better allocate military resources across a wide response area. Title 10 deputies and JEC teams work for the Dual-Status Commander and support the active-duty efforts of the DSC team. A JEC team has also deployed to California to assist in relief efforts.

Activated Defense Coordinating Officers across all ten FEMA regions

DCOs serve as the Federal Emergency Management Agency's single point of contact for Department of Defense support. They liaise between FEMA and U.S. Northern Command to assist in the flow of relief efforts to the most affected areas.