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Special operations Airmen deploy to Haiti to provide humanitarian relief

by Senior Airman David Salanitri
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

1/14/2010 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- Two MC-130H Combat Talon IIs from the 15th Special Operations Squadron here and multiple teams from the 720th Special Tactics Group deployed to Haiti Jan. 13 in support of humanitarian operations.

These teams bring an array of capabilities with them to the country devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12.

"Our special tactics teams have three specific capabilities that will allow for them to provide the best possible combination of support to Haiti," said Maj. Jason Daniels, the 720th Operations Support Squadron director of operations.

"We are scheduled to be among the first people on the ground over there and we don't know the extent of damage done to the airfield," Major Daniels said. "Our goal is to have the airfield ready to take on full traffic by tonight. We bring our own lights and communication equipment, so we are prepared."

In addition to opening up the International Airport at Port-au-Prince, combat controllers are trained to survey other areas to look for potential airdrop and landing zones so other cargo and personnel can be accepted into the country if required.

"Our members are trained paramedics and trained in trauma related to disasters like this," Major Daniels said. "Since our airfield will be open, we will be able to treat and (medical evacuation) victims if needed.

"Just like if we were deployed in combat, we are ready to conduct search and rescue missions to include rescuing members in everything from a collapsed building to an elevator shaft," he said.

"Weather will play a huge role in air operations," Major Daniels said. "Our Airmen will take on-scene observations so incoming aircraft will know what to expect and can plan accordingly."

The major reinforced that all of the team members who are deploying are dedicated and ready to carry out the mission.

"Every Airman we sent has either recently returned from a deployment, is getting ready for a deployment or both," Major Daniels said. "Our Airmen are motivated to help the people of Haiti."



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