WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The military is increasing the National Guard force on the storm-ravaged Gulf coast to 30,000 and 3,000 regular Army soldiers may be sent to help end lawlessness in New Orleans, officials said on Thursday.
The moves would bring to nearly 50,000 the number of part-time Guard and active-duty military personnel committed to the biggest domestic relief effort in U.S. history after Monday’s onslaught by killer Hurricane Katrina.
The Navy said it was sending the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman to join an armada of vessels off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The Air Force said it was adding a high-flying U-2 spy plane to the relief effort to take pictures to help relief efforts at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Army has put on alert roughly 3,000 active-duty ground troops from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to be prepared to deploy to New Orleans to help bring security to the flooded city amid looting and lawlessness, said an Army official, who asked not to be named.
The brigade-sized force, likely to be from the 82nd Airborne Division, would engage in crowd control and site-protection activities, the official said.
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