Stories from Haiti – update for Jan 20 morning
Approximately 125 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit came ashore near Leogane, Haiti today beginning relief operations in a pasture that is now being used as a landing zone for helicopters loaded with supplies.
The Marines launched from the USS Bataan aboard CH-53E Super Stallion Helicopters and UH-1N Hueys, aircraft that are part of the MEU’s Aviation Combat Element, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 (Reinforced).
The Marines quickly established security in the landing zone which was the home to a handful of emaciated horses, who seemed unaware of the devastation that had occurred only one week before. The first helicopter touched down just before noon and shortly after, relief supplies began flowing. Collapsible water containers and bottled water were the first supplies delivered by the MEU.
“Our efforts have been going very well,” said Capt. James Birchfield, company commander of Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. “It’s hard work, but the Marines are working quickly to get the supplies to those who need them.”
Over the course of the afternoon, six helicopters delivered pallets of water and food. U.N. Forces picked the supplies up in trucks and distributed them to areas that have had little relief since the quake rocked the country one week ago.For one Marine, the efforts of the Marines were close to home. Cpl. Clifford Sajous is a native of Haiti and has had not had any contact with several of his family members since the earthquake. Despite of this, Sajous focuses on the mission and knows the Marines efforts are well received.
“They’re excited we are here and happy they are going to get some help,” said Sajous. “We’re here, helping people right now and that is something to be proud of.”
The ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and embarked elements of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived off the coast of Haiti Monday to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief for earthquake survivors and bolster relief operations already underway in support of Operation Unified Response.
This sea-based force will bring added capabilities to aid the relief efforts without taxing the already strained infrastructure ashore. Comprised of heavy-lift and utility helicopters, trucks and humvees, assault amphibian vehicles, and logistics capabilities to include water purification and limited medical support, the 22nd MEU will further enhance the humanitarian relief efforts ashore.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its command element.
In addition to Bataan, the Amphibious Relief Mission also includes USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and detachments from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 15, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 21, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 8, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4 and Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 2.
What is the USNS Comfort?
Hospital ship Comfort receives first Haitian patients unexpectedly
In a life-saving move, a Navy helicopter transported two severely injured Haitians to receive treatment aboard this hospital ship. a 6-year-old boy and 20-year-old man — had received care on the USS Carl Vinson, a U.S. aircraft carrier.
â€œThe senior medical officer sent the patients on to receive care with us,â€ said Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Tim Donahue, the Comfortâ€™s chief of surgery. Both were in critical condition.
The 20-year-old patient has a broken skull and possibly a fractured cervical vertebrae. Doctors aboard the Vinson also suspected there might be bleeding inside his skull. The 6-year-old patient has a crushed pelvis and possible damage to his bladder and urethra.
At 10:24 p.m., the call came to casualty receiving: â€œHelos on deck.â€ Stretcher bearers removed the patients from the Vinsonâ€™s chopper and moved them via elevator to the receiving area.
The patients were met by a phalanx of doctors, nurses and corpsmen and placed in an assessment area. The sailors went about their duties professionally and quietly.
The boy was conscious and able to answer questions. A Haitian-American servicemember â€“ Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Yves Henry â€“ translated the doctorâ€™s questions to the boy and his answers back.
The boy had undergone surgery aboard the Vinson two days before. The medics aboard the Vinson sent him to the Comfort to take advantage of the expertise and equipment aboard the vessel.
The other patient had a tube inserted in his throat and could not speak. Doctors took X-rays of him on the gurney and then moved him to another area to receive a CAT scan.
After the initial rush, Donahue spoke to press who observed the procedure. The chief of surgery was pleased with the performance of the medics. â€œItâ€™s quiet,â€ he said. â€œThat means they are talking and communicating well. Everything went very smoothly.â€
Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) William Todd, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, said the 6-year-old could move his hips and did not present symptoms of complications. â€œHeâ€™s a tough little boy,â€ Todd said. â€œItâ€™s probably pain from the previous surgery.â€
Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Shawn Safford was the general surgeon who examined the young man. â€œHe was very alert,â€ he said. â€œHe has a slight fever, but we will treat that. We will watch him for a few days to ensure it is going well.â€
The boy knows his fatherâ€™s cell phone number, but not what happened to him, his mother or his brother. â€œHe was scared and was reaching for my hand,â€ Safford said. â€œJust holding a kidâ€™s hand is sometimes the best medicine.â€
Both Haitian patients are in the Comfortâ€™s intensive care unit.
U.S. Coast Guard summary of assistance to Haiti to date
In total, the Coast Guard has medically transported 29 critically injured U.S. Embassy personnel out of Haiti, evacuated approximately 662 American citizens and delivered 512 urban search and rescue team members to Port au Prince. The Coast Guard will continue to support the massive relief effort in Haiti by providing humanitarian assistance to Haitian survivors, evacuating critically injured U.S. personnel and evacuating U.S. citizens from Haiti. The complexities crews face with this massive relief operation are immense due to the magnitude of damage to Haitiâ€™s infrastructure.
For imagery and video of Coast Guard relief efforts in Haiti, please go to the Coast Guard Visual Information website at http://cgvi.uscg.mil/.
Additional Coast Guard assets responding to the area are:
â€¢Â An HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center, Mobile, Ala.
â€¢Â An HC-130J Hercules fixed-wing aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.
â€¢ An HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento, Calif.
â€¢ Two HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraftÂ from Barber’s Point, Hawaii.
â€¢Â Two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews.Â They areÂ from the Coast Guard HITRON based in Jacksonville, Fla., and Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, Mich.
â€¢ Two HU-25 Falcon jet crews from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, Fla.
â€¢ TheÂ Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Miami, Fla.
â€¢ TheÂ Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.
â€¢ TheÂ Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, N.H.
â€¢ TheÂ Coast Guard Cutter Oak, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in Charleston, S.C.
Summary of Israeli Defense Forces activities in Haiti to date
So far, 383 people have been treated in the hospital, among them dozens of children. 140 life saving operations were executed and seven babies were delivered. As of now, approximately 60 patients are being treated in different departments of the hospital.
Last night, two children who were trapped under the ruins of a building for seven days and then rescued by an American team were brought to the IDF hospital for treatment.
Guardians Report In: HS1 Larry Berman
Today, day three, was the first day that we got a few people out; I think the count was 10. The primary goal each day has been to treat and evac those needing amputations. My happiest moment came this morning as one man with a left crushed arm, 30 medical staples and sutures to the face, and a scalp wound was evaced to a hospital. The first day, as triage goes, we thought he was near death so we deferred to stronger amputations who were a mess, but much alive. The following day, when we saw that he was still alive, HS2 Gomez and I decided that he would be our priority. That was yesterday. I scrubbed what was his arm with Betadine, tourniqueted the arm and wrapped it in a red contamination bag. HS2 stapled a huge facial wound with the medical staples and sutures. HS2 Elias Gomez was a master, caring for the patient. I cleaned maggots from his scalp wound and sutured that up. We also hit him up with antibiotics. As I said, today he flew to a hospital. That my friends was an outstanding moment for HS2 and myself.
We have treated more patients than we can count, then they go out to sit in the outer court yard.
The scene includes about 30-40 Coast Guardsmen and about 20 Haitian volunteers with various experience. A couple of Haitian nurses and doctors have joined us, but the leadership of the clinic has been HS2 and myself. I believe that the Haitians have recognized the discipline and order that the Tahoma and Mohawk have demonstrated. OS1 Sweetman, YN1 Winslow and ETC Frownfelter have lead the security for the compound. They keep order. The Mohawk has taken leadership over the supply room. I wish that I could tell you their names, but there is one Chief that has done a great job with the stock room.
Both Mohawk and Tahoma crewmen are willing to do anything. I have seen our Engineering Officer LT Sanzo out in the courtyard bandaging people. I saw our Executive Officer LCDR Fisher hold the hand of a little girl while her wounds were being painfully scrubbed. I was able to come and administer a small amount of morphine to the little girl which made the XOâ€™s job easier.
Today was the first day also that the decision was made to use morphine. The compound fractures and skin ripped off some of their bodies warranted it as we had to clean the infected wounds. Morphine is mercy.
For the past 3 days, Tahoma and Mohawk have had to make hundreds of decisions on how to help these people. We are all exhausted. We are all running on adrenalin. We are working in the heat, sweating. No one goes to the bathroom until be get back to the ship from 0830 to 1715 Hrs. Both Gomez and I have been ordered to take breaks. It is non-stop. Today, I had to ask what day it was. I had no idea. Thank God we are starting to get a few people out. Tomorrow we hope to get at least 12 of the worst out.
Table of contents for Haiti quake 2010
- Massive earthquake strikes Haiti
- Earthquake in Haiti – aftershocks continue
- Haiti earthquake aid
- Haiti quake damages pile up
- Horror in Haiti – the morning after the quake
- U.S. quickly responds to Haiti quake
- Infrastructure hurdles to Haiti quake relief
- U.S. Coast Guard on location in Haiti right now
- Strong aftershocks continue in Haiti
- PR Guard standing by – Gitmo damaged by Haiti quake
- Paras and Marines on alert for Haiti move
- Earthquake in Haiti update for January 13 evening
- Earthquake in Haiti – January 14 morning update
- Marines ready to assist Haiti after earthquake
- Earthquake in Haiti – Update for January 14 evening
- FEMA report on Haiti relief efforts for January 15
- Out of the night sky – Air Force secures Port-au-Prince airport
- Earthquake in Haiti – January 15 evening
- Haiti Quake Relief Funding Numbers
- But people are dying – thoughts on the Haitian disaster
- Aftershocks continue to rock Haiti
- Earthquake in Haiti – Update for January 16
- Haiti Quake Relief Funding Numbers for Jan 16
- Hospital ship Comfort sails for Haiti
- Baby delivered during Haiti evacuation
- Navy is delivering supplies to Haiti victims
- Hospital ship Comfort racing to Haiti
- Country club serves as forward base for Paras in Haiti
- Situation at Port-au-Prince airport improving
- Sanjay Gupta Assists Vinson Medical Team in Haiti
- USAID Update on the Haiti relief operation January 18
- Air drop to aid Haitian victims of earthquake
- Haiti Quake Relief Funding Numbers for Jan 18
- Earthquake in Haiti – morning update January 19
- Los Angeles rescuers save Haitian woman
- Stories from Haiti – update for Jan 20 morning
- American volunteers in Haiti
- American donations for Haiti earthquake relief – Jan 21
- Haiti earthquake relief update for Jan 21
- Haitians receiving care and support aboard Bataan
- Hospital ship Comfort healing, hugging Haitians
- Brief update on Navy and Marine relief efforts in Haiti Jan 23
- Fort Hood veterinary services unit sent to Haiti
- Harbor damage in Port-au-Prince
- American giving for Haiti relief as of January 25
- Comparison of Haiti donations to Katrina and the tsunami
- Haitian Coast Guard base becomes hub for quake relief
- Comparison of Haiti donations to Katrina and the tsunami Jan 28
- High tech warbird aids Haiti relief efforts
- High-speed ferrys en route to Haiti
- Southern Command briefs on Haiti situation
- Paras opening roads in Haiti
- Aid from Dominican Republic via Kentucky National Guard
- Haitian assistance stories for February 3
- Haitian relief efforts slow
- Marine calls Leogane Haiti home
- Haiti earthquake relief update for February 7
- Army medics at work in Haiti relief effort
- Haiti earthquake relief funding update for February 14
- Keeping Haitians informed
- A tent means a lot to Haitian orphans
- Italian troops aid paras in Haiti rubble clearance
- Landslide in Haiti tests Special Ops rescuers
- Navy and Marines bridge Haitian divide from government
- Haitian earthquake relief – update for February 28
- Haitian earthquake update – March 4
- Air Guard Engineers Help Haitians
- Things are baaaaad in Haiti
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