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US response to Hurricane Matthew relief for Haiti

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The United States has sent troops, aircraft and ships to provide disaster relief assistance to Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. The Navy and Marines are working from the USS Mesa Verde, (LPD-19).

USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19) sails through the Caribbean while conducting air operations in support of Joint Task Force Matthew.

USS Mesa Verde sails in support of Joint Task Force Matthew. Elements of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit surveyed potential beach landing sites and airfields for upcoming disaster and humanitarian relief assistance to the Republic of Haiti following Hurricane Matthew. The air operations were conducted by CH-53 Super Stallions from VMM-365, giving the 24th MEU heavy lifting and transport capabilities to assist with the MEU’s many missions. Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Durham, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit


Joint Task Force Matthew arrives in Haiti to provide relief efforts

DVIDS
Story by Capt. Tyler Hopkins
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South

U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command, along with members of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Oct. 5, 2016, to help facilitate disaster relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

JTF Matthew is deployed to Port-au-Prince at the request of the Government of Haiti to provide humanitarian and disaster relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilots with Alpha Company 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, deployed in support of Joint Task Force Matthew, fly toward Jeremie, Haiti, Oct. 10, 2016. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kimberly Aguirre/Released

The personnel of Joint Task Force Matthew began planning efforts at Soto Cano Air Base once the storm appeared as if it would make landfall in the Caribbean. JTF Matthew planned for a rapid departure and made sure they had the ability to get to affected areas as quickly as possible if requested and to help as many people as possible.

In the third day of supply drop operations, JTF Matthew delivered bags of rice, cooking oil and other supplies utilizing CH-53E Super Stallion and CH-47 Chinook helicopters

Lance Cpl. Alex Hurtado, heavy equipment operator, and Gunnery Sgt. Damian Herny, engineer chief with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Southern Command, deployed in support of Joint Task Force Matthew, off load supplies for locals affected by Hurricane Matthew at Jeremie, Haiti, Oct. 9, 2016. In the third day of supply drop operations, JTF Matthew delivered bags of rice, cooking oil and other supplies utilizing CH-53E Super Stallion and CH-47 Chinook helicopters to provide humanitarian and disaster relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ian Ferro/Released

“A response like this takes the entire team to provide timely aid to those most affected” according to Maj. Rick Childers, the Joint Task Force – Bravo engineer assigned to JTF Matthew. Childers will facilitate coordination through JTF Matthew and U.S. Southern Command for the response and potential infrastructure assessments in affected areas, if requested.

Once approved, U.S. Southern Command directed JTF Matthew and SPMAGTF-SC to pre-position on the Grand Cayman Islands. By doing so, JTF Matthew was in a unique position to respond and provide relief efforts quickly after receiving the request from USAID.

621st Contingency Response Wing

Staff Sgt. Angelo Morino, 621st Contingency Response Wing, transports food and provisions for Hurricane victims, October 9th, 2016, Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The CRW has units ready to deploy anywhere in the world in support of emergency operations, within 12 hours of notification. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Waggoner/released

“Having the approval and the ability to pre-position our assets was absolutely critical,” stated Col. Thomas Prentice, commanding officer, SPMAGTF-SC. “In the aftermath of any natural disaster, military capabilities are desperately needed in the early stages of relief operations. By staging in the Cayman Islands and refueling in Jamaica, we were able to arrive on the ground within hours of receiving the request for assistance.”

The Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Southern Command and soldiers with JTF-Bravo are part of Joint Task Force Matthew

U.S. Army Sgt. King David, a crew chief with Joint Task Force – Bravo’s 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, delivers a motorcycle to the local police force at Jeremie, Haiti, Oct. 9, 2016. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Samuel Guerra

JTF Matthew departed Honduras’ Soto Cano Air Base and brings with them CH-53E Super Stallion, CH-47 Chinook, and UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters. These vertical take-off assets will prove critical in gaining access to areas that are otherwise unreachable. Their focus will be to provide heavy lift support to ongoing U.S. disaster assistance missions in the country.

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