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US Military Collaborates with Haitian Relief Organization, Salvation Army

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100210-07
Release Date: 2/10/2010 1:29:00 PM

By Air Force 2nd Lt. Victoria Brayton, Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command Public Affairs

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (NNS) -- The combined efforts of the Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command, the Navy HM-14 squadron from Norfolk, Va., the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization and the Salvation Army resulted in the delivery of 1,000 pounds of supplies to Cap Haitien Feb. 7.

The delivery included much-needed food, water and medical supplies such as casting materials, crutches and medicines. The Salvation Army donated approximately 600 pounds of rice and beans and J/P HRO donated bags of rice and boxes of medical supplies to reach a total of 1,000 pounds delivered.

The mission started to come together Feb. 6. Recognizing the supplies available from the J/P HRO, American actor Sean Penn's relief organization, members of the 82nd Airborne Division who are currently co-located with J/P HRO at Petionville, Haiti, put the organization in contact with the JFSOCC. JFSOCC members then coordinated with the HM-14 squadron to facilitate the transportation of the supplies to Cap Haitien.

Although it may seem unusual for the U.S. military to work so closely with a celebrity's organization, their desire to provide humanitarian assistance and the timeline matched perfectly. JFSOCC had already planned a supply mission for Feb. 7, so it was easy to add in the contributions from the Salvation Army and J/P HRO.

"It's important for us to work with any organization that has the ability to meet a need," said Col. Barrett Lowe, JFSOCC-Forward deputy commander. "By working with the J/P HRO, I think we were able to show the U.S. military's flexibility in our relief operations. As a result, we were able to meet the specific supply needs for one hospital and deliver hundreds of pounds of food and water at the same time."

Members of the U.S. military were also impressed with how Penn took a direct role in this mission, working side-by-side with the rest of the unit.

"He helped load and unload the supplies with us just as if he was part of our team," Lowe said. "He actively participated and even shared part of an MRE with me."

Penn also said he enjoyed the chance to collaborate with the U.S. military to get the supplies out, adding that this experience was typical of the military support his organization has had.

"The JFSOCC efforts were stellar," Penn said.

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