Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two devastating and extremely powerful hurricanes in September 2017, left severe damage in their wake in the Caribbean and mainland United States. Irma, hit the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 6, and Maria hit Puerto Rico and the island of Dominica on September 20. The U.S. Navy supported the Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA), the lead federal agency in helping those affeced by the hurricanes.
U.S. Navy ships immediately assisting Irma in the Virgin Islands were: USS Wasp (LHD-1), USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), USS Oak Hill (LSD-51), and SS Wright (T-AVB-3). Embarked on the Kearsarge was 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Other Navy ships: USS New York (LPD-21), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), USS Farragut (DDG-99), and USS San Jacinto (CG-56). The helicopters assigned to the ships evacuated 1,900 people.
U.S. Navy ships initially called to assist following Maria in Puerto Rico and Dominica were: USS Wasp (LHD-1), USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), and USS Oak Hill (LSD-51). The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit also helped in this relief effort. The U.S. Coast Guard sent approximately 13 cutters to also provide relief during this operation. Helicopters brought supplies onto the island.
USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) provided help to victims of both hurricanes.