“We created posters, flyers and radio messages promoting the World Food Program and the government of Haiti, informing the people what to expect during the surge, where to receive coupons for food, and where the distribution sites would be,” said Capt. Ben Biver, operations detachment commander. “We are constantly out watching how our products are working and constantly judging their effectiveness.”
Over 50,000 hand-cranked or solar-powered radios were distributed in the past week by the 2nd BCT and other organizations to ensure those key messages reached the population. “We broadcast public service announcements about the food surge through Commando Solo, (an EC-130 Hercules Aircraft designed to broadcast public service announcements across a various outlets, to include AM and FM frequencies) and also through contracts with local, Port-au-Prince radio stations,” said SSG Carl Kipp, brigade operations NCO, HHC, 2nd BCT.
Early in the morning, paratroopers began the process of distributing aid to the people of Haiti. “We started at 4 a.m.,” said Judah Rothenberger, a canon crewmember with B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.
As soon as the food was loaded into vehicles and the Soldiers linked up with various non-government organizations, they moved to the distribution sites. “When we got to the distribution site at 5 a.m., people were already lined up,” stated Sgt. Hector Hernandez, section chief, B Battery, 2-319th.
We picked up the food and teams from World Vision Emergency Response, and moved to the distribution site, Rothenberger said. Once we got there, World Vision began unloading the rice and we set up security around the site.
Maria Chiara Mussoni, representative from the WFP, said “From what I see today, it’s very good. It seems to be very secure and very safe.”
Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, the 2nd BCT paratroopers worked in concert with United States Agency for International Development, the WFP, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, the Haitian government, and other non-government organizations, to distribute the bags of rice. Falcon troopers acted in a myriad of roles throughout the day.
Spc. Ryan Gonwa and Spc. Alexander Guzman, infantrymen with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, carried bags of rice that were too large for their recipients and assisted them in splitting the 100 pound bags into smaller portions so that family members could share the weight.
At another location supported by 2-319th “Black Falcons,” Pvt. Christopher Nordloh checked the vouchers of individuals in line to make sure they were in the right place and were informed of the procedures to receive their food quickly.
By mid-afternoon, 1,142,000 pounds of food had been distributed without any issues from the crowd or the distribution teams. “It’s always a good day when you can help people,” Hernandez said.
Story by Staff Sgt. John Seth Laughter
U.S. Navy carrier USS Carl Vinson departs Haitian aid mission
U.S. Southern Command released the U.S. Navy carrier USS Carl Vinson, Feb. 1.
The ship and its embarked air wing distributed more than 1.1 million pounds of emergency humanitarian aid for earthquake survivors in Haiti since commencing operations in support of Operation Unified Response.
Nineteen helicopters embarked aboard Carl Vinson, the first large-scale, airlift capability to arrive on scene, flew more than 1,000 hours in support of the operation and evacuated 435 patients requiring medical attention since their arrival off Haiti, Jan. 15.
Ten helicopters from the carrier will remain with Joint Task Force-Haiti and will continue to support international relief efforts from other U.S. Navy ships operating near the Haitian coast.
Approximately 40 additional U.S. military helicopters continue to provide critical logistics support to the relief effort.
Also departing after contributing to the relief efforts are the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill and the oceanographic survey ship USNS Henson. The two ships were among the first U.S. Navy ships to join the carrier in the days immediately following the earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation, Jan. 12.
Paras revisit Jammeau, Haiti
This was the second humanitarian aid distribution the Red Falcons conducted for the town. This drop was more successful than the last, said Knight, due to the number of people present. Word spread quickly through the small town, made clear by the amount of people using their cell phones while waiting in line for food, he said.
The organization of this distribution was obvious as the townspeople stood in single file line with their children. Ten at a time, the locals approached the LMTV. Each was given an armful of high-energy biscuits and a 1.5 liter bottle of water for every two people. However, once everyone in the town had cycled through, they were able to come back for seconds or even thirds.
Ten thousand biscuits were given out as well as 500 bottles of water, which will feed 500 people for four-and-a-half days, said Lt. Ben Wackerlin, a platoon leader with Team D.
Although the biscuits are a source of food for the locals, they still need the staples of their regular diet, said Knight. Within a few days the Red Falcons will provide 80 pound bags containing rice, beans and cooking oil, and will feed a family of five for two weeks. This allows the people to concentrate on other essential tasks, such as searching for work, rather than waiting in line for food every day.
Story by Pfc. Kissta Feldner
Marines of 24th MEU handle unexpected mission with Haitian assistance
“I had no idea I would ever be doing anything like this in the Marine Corps,” said Lance Cpl. Drivenel Alfred, who was born in Port-de-Paix, Haiti. “It makes me feel great to have this opportunity to help both the Marine Corps and my people.”
Assessment teams have traveled to different towns throughout Haiti since the end of last week, looking for the same information in each location. The translators have to quickly speak with hundreds of locals to find out where hospitals, schools and city government buildings and officials are located, in addition to reassuring the masses that gather at every landing zone.
“I talk to the Haitian people, get the information we need to assess a location and ensure they know that we’re here to help them as best we can,” said Pfc. Rodney Gustave, field wireman, CLB-24, 24th MEU, and a Miami native of Haitian descent. “I just want to accomplish the mission and get as much information as possible so we can further assist them.”
For Cpl. Reginald Chery, tank mechanic, A. Company, Battalion Landing team 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 24th MEU, his mission is more than a job, its a homecoming, as he visited Saint Marc, the town of his birth.
“It felt really good to get in touch with friends of the family who I saw during the mission and make sure they were all safe,” Chery said. “It was all familiar, a lot of places I already knew, I felt like I could really help.”
Though all are excited to contribute to mission success and getting help where it is really needed, the realities of the destruction nationwide doesn’t escape them.
“Being there is kind of sad, but I focus on my job,” said Alfred. “Its hard, we see some heartbreaking things, but we still have to get the job done. That’s what Marines do.”
U.S. Marine Corps
By Gunnery Sgt. Robert Piper
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