The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Paratroopers continue to sustain Haiti relief effort

Jan 29, 2010

By Gary Sheftick

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 29, 2010) -- Eight pallets of medical supplies left Fort Bragg, N.C., last night for the Haiti relief effort, and the post continues to send containers of water and rations to be air-dropped onto the island.

Col. Kenneth C. Dyer, commander of the 406th Army Field Support Brigade and acting S-4 of the XVIII Airborne Corps, spoke about Haiti humanitarian assistance during a blogger’s roundtable, Jan. 29. He was joined by Col. Strep R. Kuehl, the XVIII Airborne Corps G-1 responsible for filling critical personnel needs for the task force conducting relief in Haiti.

About 3,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team are now in Haiti along with about 250 Soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters. They began deploying to Haiti soon after the devastating earthquake struck the country, Jan. 12.

A total of 148 aircraft deployed the brigade’s Soldiers and equipment to Haiti, much of it over the past week, from Pope Air Force Base, N.C., Dyer said.

He said Light Medium Tactical Vehicles and 5-ton trucks had to be airlifted in order to distribute the humanitarian aid and rations to the population on Haiti.

“It was integrated packages of support,” Dyer said. “You had security elements to secure things; you had drop zone assistance recovery teams and guys who could actually run drop zones so you could do CVS capability and provide containerized delivery systems capability to support humanitarian feeding and support efforts."

At Fort Bragg’s Heavy Drop Rig Site, Dyer said parachute riggers have been working non-stop preparing containerized delivery system bundles with water and "meals, ready-to-eat" to drop into Haiti.

“We’ve dropped 84 bundles of water and 68 bundles of rations to date," Dyer said. “And rigging them -- I’m talking around the clock in shifts."

“All the world’s a drop zone,” Kuehl said. “And we can be anyplace in just a matter of hours.”

Initially, Fort Bragg sent about $3-million worth of medical supplies and equipment to Haiti, Dyer said. Meeting the demands for support drained the installation's resources and capabilities, he said.

“We’ve built those back up and we’ve also built some additional sets,” Dyer said, adding that a C-17 Globemaster III with medical equipment from Fort Bragg was on its way to Haiti today.

Fort Bragg is integrating the shipments of medical supplies and other aid to the best of its ability, Dyer said.

So far, the deployment and sustainment effort has been primarily by air, Dyer said, but now that the ports in Haiti have been cleared, that’s about to change.

About 250 vehicles from Fort Bragg are currently on railcars heading to the port of Jacksonville, Fla., and will be shipped to Haiti. Another 140 containers of equipment and supplies from the installation will be sent to Haiti via ship, Dyer said.

“It’s nowhere near the capacity that’s going to be provided through USAID and some of the interagency partners on the ground that are now starting to leverage the port and containers of aid starting to come in,” Dyer said.

“It’s a monumental effort on everybody’s part,” Kuehl said about the relief and sustainment effort.

Much of the Army and the rest of America is involved in the relief effort, Dyer said. He explained that the Army Materiel Command has provided a sizable amount of the equipment sent, community groups have donated water and food, the Air Force has moved it, and the paratroopers have been supported by the civilian Mission Support Element.

“It’s all about teams, focused on an effort -- a mission -- and that’s to provide relief to the Haitians," Dyer said.

Join the mailing list