Story by SPC Anthony Martinez on 09/18/2017ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands Army Reserve Soldiers from the 512th Movement Control Team began emergency relief operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, responding to the immediate needs of area residents affected by Hurricane Irma's damage.
"I don't consider this a mission, I consider it a responsibility," said Spc. Akil Vanterpool. "A responsibility that we all have to uphold, helping each other and providing each other whatever we need."
"I know going forward we will keep receiving a tremendous amount of help, the 1st MSC bringing us food and water is already a great start," said Spc. Michael Hilaire. "Next, would be discussing logistics and find out what we can do to help and keep moving forward."
Hilaire explained how units are without jobs at the moment in their tourism-driven economy. "We are excited about having the opportunity to work in the community, not just to earn money but to work hand to hand with the community and make a bigger impact on the unit."
Brig. Gen. Shultz, the commanding general of the 1st Mission Support Command, had the opportunity to visit with Soldiers from the 512th MCT as they assisted in relief efforts after Hurricane Irma. "What the 512th represents to us, is why we are here," said Shultz. "If we can't show genuine concern for them and support them as required, then we have lost our purpose. We have lost the understanding that Soldiers are the ones who enable us to accomplish our mission."
The 512th Movement Control Team mission is to assist the Virgin Islands National Guard in maintaining peace and order in the community, as people attempt to get out and get the necessities like food and water. They also will assist in handing out supplies to Soldiers and civilians at different points of distribution and give shelter to the displaced citizens of St. Thomas and other islands. Many of these citizens lost everything when hurricane Irma hit the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Army Reserve units have capabilities critical to Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) (response, including search and rescue, aviation, engineer, transportation, medical and communications support. The Army Reserve has Soldiers and equipment in more than 1,100 communities across the nation allowing immediate response to local emergencies. We stand with our nation in support of our neighbors, and our primary concern is their safety and well-being.