US military presence increases to aid relief efforts in Haiti

through Ashley roque

The United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) currently has approximately 800-1,000 military personnel around Haiti to conduct humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions after a magnitude 7 earthquake, 2 hit the island nation on August 14. Operations range from search and rescue (SAR) sorties, airlifting injured survivors to health facilities in Port-au-Prince, and helping to establish a field hospital closer to the epicenter of the disaster.

USSOUTHCOM Commander Admiral Craig Faller spoke with Janes on August 22 about the efforts of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Haiti which, so far, have included hundreds of “missions”. “.

“What we have tried to do is put in motion additional assets [starting on 14 August]. Think of helicopters, ships, assessment teams – these are small teams that can go out and figure out if an airstrip is capable of handling a C-130 or a helicopter – and a command and control element ” said Adm Faller.

USSOUTHCOM initially withdrew troops and assets from Joint Task Force-Bravo located at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras and sent some to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. From there, they carry out aerial sorties into Haiti using Port-au-Prince-Toussaint Louverture International Airport as their “forward” location and use the ships as refueling points or as a “remission” location.

“They bring people back to Port-au-Prince who need medical care, then find health facilities available,” said Adm Faller. “The problem is not that there is no adequate health care in Haiti, it is just that there are gaps, especially in rural areas.

Helicopter crew members from the US Coast Guard’s Clearwater Air Station assist a seriously injured Haitian citizen on August 18. (US Coast Guard)

In the meantime, the United States has also deployed more troops to the region, including the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. Arlington

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The Southern Command of the United States (USSOUTHCOM) currently has approximately 800 to 1,000 soldiers in Hait …

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