Mexican response to Hurricane Katrina

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Mexican marines and U.S. Navy sailors cleaning up debris outside of a hurricane-stricken Mississippian elementary school in September 2005.
Mexican marines and U.S. Navy sailors cleaning up debris outside of a Mississippian elementary school.

In September 2005, units of the Mexican Armed Forces responded to the emergency situations after Hurricane Katrina with aid and assistance,[1][2][3] appearing as a flagged, uniformed force in the United States for the first time since World War II in the 1940s and the first operational deployment of Mexican troops to the U.S. in 159 years.[4][5]

The Mexican contingent was based out of Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for the duration of the deployment. The Mexican military conducted aid and cleanup missions in Harrison County, Mississippi in conjunction with Dutch navy sailors, U.S. Marines, and the U.S. Navy.


Mexican marines and U.S. Marines cleaning up hurricane debris outside of a Mississippian elementary school.
Mexican sailors assigned to the Mexican amphibious ship ARM Papaloapan (P-411) debark a U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) as they prepare to work on rehabilitation projects in the Biloxi, MS area.
Mexican marines and Dutch sailors distributing aid and foodstuffs to Mississippian hurricane victims in September 2005.
Mexican marines and Dutch sailors distributing aid and foodstuffs to Mississippian hurricane victims in September 2005.
U.S. President George W. Bush conveys his gratitude to a Mexican marine on their cleanup efforts
The Mexican army's camp at Kelly AFB during their deployment to the U.S.

In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the southeastern portion of the contiguous United States, causing severe damage and destruction in several U.S. states and killing more than a thousand people.

A Mexican Army mobile kitchen that was sent to Texas.
Mexican soldiers disassembling tents near the end of the deployment.

Response activities[edit]

On August 30, 2005, Mexican President Vicente Fox sent his condolences to U.S. President George W. Bush regarding the hurricane's effects: "In the name of the people and of the government of Mexico, I assure you of my deepest and most sincere condolences for the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Katrina". He also mentioned his instructions to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; that the United States would be provided with any kind of help that was needed.[6]

The Mexican Red Cross sent four rescue experts from the state of Jalisco to assist in rescue efforts in New Orleans. The government of the Mexican Federal District also pledged to help with relief efforts.

On September 4, the Mexican Navy offered ships, buses and helicopters to assist in rescue missions. The offer was accepted and the Mexican ship Papaloapan departed from Tampico, with two Mi-17 helicopters, eight all-terrain vehicles, seven amphibious vehicles, two tankers, radio communication equipment, medical personnel and 250 tons of food.[7]

On September 5, the Secretariat of Social Development pledged 200 tons of food, to be delivered in five airplanes by the Mexican Air Force.

The Secretariat of National Defense, on September 6, sent Mexican soldiers with expertise in rescue missions to the area affected by Katrina. Also sent the same day were 35 vehicles and 162.7 tons of food, carried by trucks traveling through the U.S. state of Texas.[8]

The members of congress of the Federal District pledged a day of salary each on September 7, to be sent to those affected by Katrina. The National Commission of Water sent bottled water and canned food upon request. Naval ship Papaloapan arrived the same day, with 389 soldiers and other personnel from the Mexican Navy. Units of the Mexican Army, a total of 184 people, arrived by land with 35 military vehicles.[9]

On September 8, the Mexican Army was received with honors at Kelly Air Force Base by the mayor of San Antonio, Texas.[10] Local news channels noted the fact that the Mexican Army operated on U.S. soil after 159 years of absence, with the last time being the Mexican-American War.

On September 9, Mexican marines, U.S. Navy sailors, and U.S. Marines, helped clean up hurricane debris outside of an elementary school in D'Iberville, Mississippi.[11]

On September 12, Mexican marines and Dutch navy sailors distributed aid supplies to residents in D'Iberville, Mississippi.[12][13]

End of mission[edit]

On September 25, the 184 person Mexican army contingent completed its 20-day-long mission to provide relief to hurricane victims and relief workers from Katrina and Rita. The Mexican Army's field kitchen, a tractor-trailer turned into a kitchen, served 170,000 meals during their deployment to the former Kelly Air Force Base. They also assisted in the distribution and management of more than 184,000 tons of supplies.

On September 26, 2005 in a small ceremony conducted by the Mexican consulate, the Mexican troops ceremonially ended their mission. They broke down their camp, packed their equipment, folded their flag and drove back to Mexico.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Heads turn as Mexican troops roll into US with aid". Reuters. September 2005. Retrieved September 15, 2005. 
  2. ^ "Mexican Military Brings Aid To Katrina Victims". Free Internet Press. September 2005. Retrieved September 9, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Mexican Army Departs to U.S.". Milenio Diario (in Spanish). Mexico. 2005. 
  4. ^ Sánchez, Jesús Olguín (2005). "Mexican President Vicente Fox celebrates the uneventful entrance of the Mexican Army to US soil in solidarity" (in Spanish). Mexico. Retrieved March 31, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Mexican Army Returns to Texas". Milenio Diario (in Spanish). Mexico. 2005. Retrieved December 19, 2007. 
  6. ^ Fox, Vicente; Sánchez, Jesús Olguín (August 31, 2005). "Letter of condolence to President George W. Bush" (in Spanish). Mexico. Retrieved September 9, 2005. 
  7. ^ Fox, Vicente; Waller, Suzanne Stephens (September 5, 2005). "President Fox Sends New Message about Disaster Caused by Hurricane Katrina: Message from President Vicente Fox Quesada about Disaster Caused by Hurricane Katrina". Mexico: Sistema Internet de la Presidencia. Retrieved July 22, 2011. 
  8. ^ Fifth U.S. Army/ARNORTH (September 2005). "Fifth Army helps Mexican Relief convoy movement to San Antonio". News. Retrieved July 22, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Mexican army convoys head for U.S. to deliver aid to Hurricane Katrina victims". Denton Record-Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  10. ^ Alvarez, Steve (September 26, 2005). "Mexican Forces Wind Up Humanitarian Mission". American Forces Press Service. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Sandberg, U.S. Navy. (Released) (September 9, 2005). "U.S. Navy sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and Mexican Marines carry a log as they remove Hurricane Katrina debris at the D'iberville Elementary School in D'iberville, Miss., on Sept. 9, 2005. Once the debris has been cleared the school will be used to provide food and medicine for evacuees. Department of Defense units are mobilized as part of Joint Task Force Katrina to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief efforts in the Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.". United States Navy. United States Department of Defense. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Photograph by Mark Wolfe taken on 09/12/2005 in Mississippi". FEMA. 
  13. ^ "Photograph by Mark Wolfe taken on 09/12/2005 in Mississippi". FEMA. 

Further reading[edit]

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