When thousands of combat-ready American soldiers descended upon the Caribbean nation of Haiti in September 1994, they found themselves in a new role. Instead of engaging in combat, they had become peacekeepers. Without having to execute a forcible entry operation, unit commanders immediately focused their attention on improving living conditions of their soldiers and expediting the return of combat service support units to the United States. To accomplish these seemingly incongruent tasks, the Pentagon sought help from private industry.
The Army's LOGCAP contract with Brown and Root Services, Incorporated, was used first to supplement and then to assume logistics operations for military units in Haiti. One of the contractor's first problems was identifying the needs and missions of their customers, the various troop units spread over the island. These units needed base camps with shelter, food, water, toilets, showers, laundry services, construction supplies, fuel for their vehicles, and a transportation system to provide delivery of supplies.
On the same day that Haitians greeted their new president, an Army landing craft carryied trucks laden with supplies for the troops in the Cap-Haitien area. Within 60 days, than 500 Brown and Root personnel in Haiti supporting 15,000 soldiers. By 19 November (D+60), 13,867 troops were being fed from the new dining facilities, more than 150,000 gallons of potable water were produced and delivered daily, and 200 supply requests had been received for items ranging from pallets of sheet plywood to paper plates. There were more than 3.5 million gallons of fuel onhand, as the contractor pumped in excess of 40,000 gallons to customers. Contractor personnel had received and laundered more than 8,000 bundles of laundry, built twenty-six 30-nozzle shower units, completed 12 kitchens, had 29 dining facilities in place, were servicing more than 800 portable toilets, and were removing mountains of trash.
All of this had been accomplished in spite of massive flood damage at Houston, Texas, the port of debarkation for supplying U.S. forces in Haiti, and the arrival of Hurricane Gordon in Haiti. The storm hit the island, killing approximately 200 Haitians and rampaging through Dragon, the primary base camp that housed nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers. The hurricane washed out many of the main supply routes and devastated the infrastructure that had taken the engineers weeks to build.
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