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‘It’s Our Job’: US NORTHCOM Responds To Puerto Rico

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – An agency based in Colorado in charge of defending America’s homeland has undertaken a huge humanitarian mission.

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We’re talking about the U.S. Northern Command. Right now they’re coordinating a massive response to the recent natural disasters, including the hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico.

Most of the island has now power, water, food or fuel.

Puerto Rican and Congressional leaders say federal aid has been too slow to reach the storm-ravaged U.S. territory, but USNORTHCOM is sending help as we speak.

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Military personnel from all over the nation have deployed to disaster zones hit by fires and hurricanes, including service members from the National Guard at Buckley Air Force Base.

USNORTHCOM is responsible for coordinating those missions, putting Colorado in the eye of the recovery effort storm.

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“We’ve been operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for almost the last month and a half,” says Capt. Scott Langam with USNORTHCOM.

USNORTHCOM answers the call from FEMA and other federal agencies when disaster strikes.

CBS4 visited the agencies headquarters where civil support missions involving all branches of the military are organized to disaster zones like Texas and Puerto Rico.

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“It’s our job to make sure we have the right stuff at the right place at the right time,” says Langam.

The missions provide military aircraft for rescues, delivery supplies and clean up the devastated areas.

This summer brought unprecedented disasters and an exceptional number of calls to Colorado.

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Langam says, “This is probably one of the most complex events that we’ve had given the geographic nature from TX, FL all the way down to Puerto Rico.”

NORTHCOM say coordinating rescue missions cannot deter them from their primary role of homeland defense.

“That is something we’re responsible for defending our homeland 24/7/365,” says Langam.

Agency leaders say the end of the hurricane season doesn’t bring an end to their disaster response.

With winter around the corner, blizzards will be on their radar, along with anything else Mother Nature throws their way.

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