Members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp, are off the coast of New York City awaiting the call to help with storm recovery efforts. A group of Marine engineers went ashore Saturday to help cut pipes at a ferry terminal in Hoboken, N.J. ()
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A contingent of Marine Corps engineers arrived Saturday in Hoboken, N.J., a storm-ravaged community across the Hudson River from New York City, to assist local authorities overwhelmed with the destruction created by Hurricane Sandy.
The Marines, members of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., are working at Hoboken's historic ferry terminal, Capt. Eric Flanagan, a Marine Corps spokesman, told Marine Corps Times. Located along the lower Hudson River, the facility is one of the New York metropolitan area's major commuter hubs, linking northern New Jersey to Manhattan's financial district.
NY Waterway, which operates the ferry line, expects service between Hoboken and Manhattan to be restored by Monday, officials said in a news release. Thousands of people rely on the ferry to bring them to and from work each day.
Hurricane Sandy thrashed the East Coast on Monday and Tuesday, wreaking havoc on coastal areas from the Mid-Atlantic north to Connecticut, destroying homes and infrastructure over hundreds of miles, and crippling the New York metro area with unprecedented flooding. Thousands of people have been forced from their homes, and more remain without electricity and other vital services.
The Marine engineers are believed to be the first to come ashore from the amphibious assault ship Wasp, which is located about five miles off the New York City borough of Brooklyn. They were taken to the Hoboken transit terminal via helicopter, Flanagan said, and are helping to cut pipes.
Approximately 300 Marines, mostly assigned to helicopter units out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., and MCAS New River, N.C., remain on the ship for now. By law, states must request military assistance before troops can participate in domestic missions.
The 26th MEU, commanded by Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, suspended its pre-deployment training Thursday upon receiving orders to head for the Northeast. Its personnel are capable of providing medical, engineering and logistics support along with airlift. The MEU operates CH-53 Super Stallion and UH-1N Huey helicopters as well as MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors, which can take off and land like helicopters and fly like airplanes.
Additional Marines from Camp Lejeune's 2nd Marine Logistics Group are expected to arrive in the region later today, Flanagan said.
With reporting by staff writer email@example.com?subject=Question from AirForceTimes.com reader">Gina Harkins.