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Bataan's SAR Detachment Makes World Food Program Push to Haiti

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100211-05
Release Date: 2/11/2010 10:01:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Erin Boyce, USS Bataan Public Affairs

BAIE DE GRAND GOAVE, Haiti (NNS) -- A detachment from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, embarked aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5), spent the early days of Operation Unified Response primarily conducting search and rescue missions and medical evacuations, but as conditions have changed so does the mission focus of the squadron.

The Navy's workhorse MH-60S "Knighthawk" helicopters and their aircrew still provide support for medical evacuations, but the MEDEVACs are not arriving with the same frequency they did during the days immediately following the earthquake, and HSC-22 is now using the versatility of the Knighthawk to support the Government of Haiti/United Nations led World Food Program (WFP) food push, a targeted and systemic food distribution effort using predetermined distribution locations.

Since the WFP push began Jan. 31, food has been provided for more than 1.2 million victims of the earthquake, and HSC-22 has been making a significant contribution to those efforts.

"HSC-22 has transported thousands of pounds of food and water to an excess of 50 landing zones strategically placed throughout Haiti using the WFP," said Air Crewman 1st Class Mike Helvey, from HSC-22.

According to HSC-22, the overall statistics for the detachment since arriving on station with Bataan Jan. 18 include 137 medical evacuations, the distribution of 118,130 pounds of supplies and 85,226 pounds of food and water.

"Because of the supplies the WFP gives us and HSC-22's hard work, we are definitely giving the Haitian community the supplies they need in this time of crisis," said Helvey.

Detachments from HSC-9, HSC-26, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 14 and a Marine Corps Aviation Combat Element from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are also embarked aboard Bataan supporting Operation Unified Response.

Bataan is conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations as part the Bataan Amphibious Ready Mission, which includes Bataan and the amphibious dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), to help stabilize and improve the situation in the wake of support of Operation Unified Response in Haiti.



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