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Team MacDill responds to Haiti Relief Efforts

by Senior Airman Rylan Albright
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

1/21/2010 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- Thirteen members of MacDill Air Force Base's 6th Medical Group deployed to the Republic of Haiti Jan. 20 in support of the humanitarian mission to provide critical medical care to survivors of the massive earthquake that devastated the island Jan. 12.

"The team consists of personnel whose expertise is in critical care treatment as well as both administrative and logistical support," said Col. Gregory Canney, the 6th Medical Group commander.

Additionally, the members belong to a Mobile Aeromedical Staging Facility team consisting of nurses, administrators, medical and administrative technicians who are prepared to deploy at anytime to give medical support. All the participants are trained to provide crucial medical treatment on site, load patients onto an aircraft and stabilize them during transportion to a designated medical location.

"We train and are prepared to respond anywhere in the world," said Maj. Christopher Joseph, 6th MDG MASF team chief.

While the inception of the MASF team may be recently,some of its personnel's experience with Humanitarian relief efforts are nothing new. Their training and skills were key during the Hurricane Ike and Gustav relief missions in 2008 and will once again be needed to assist the Haitian evacuees.

"The range of expertise of the members in the group starts from five to twenty years," said Major Joseph. "They are capable, willing and excited to do what needs to be done to help the people of Haiti."

Since the earthquake struck the country, the 6th Air Mobility Wing and other tenant units on MacDill AFB, have been vigilant and responsive to providing assistance to the Haitians, said Col. David Cohen, 6th AMW vice commander.

"MacDill has been at the forefront of taking care of our missions and supporting others who are also prosecuting what it is they need to do to provide relief and support to end the suffering down in Haiti," Colonel Cohen said .

In addition to medical relief, team MacDill has sent communication teams and equipment from the Joint Communications Support Element. Security was provided by the 6th Security Forces Squadron and air refueling was done by MacDill KC-135 aircraft, which refueled the first aircraft sent into Haiti.

"We've flown about a half dozen missions since Tuesday, refueling other aircraft on the way to Haiti, so they don't have to land to help expedite the relief supplies in arriving," Colonel Cohen said .

In addition, MacDill has provided around-the-clock support for more than 21 aircraft, most of which needed refueling and have been actively engaged in humanitarian aid to Haiti. Most aircraft arriving and departing from the base consist of C-17s and C-130s and originate from a variety of Air Force Bases throughout the country to include Dover AFB, Del. and Dyess AFB, Texas.

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