The Responder : Joint Task Force Haiti Newsletter


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The Responder : Joint Task Force Haiti Newsletter
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Joint Task Force Haiti
Joint Task Force Haiti
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Source: Historical Research Collection, Office of the Command Historian, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, FL 33172

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THE RESPONDERVol. I, Issue 6 March 3, 2010Telling the Joint Task Force-Haiti storya call to duty Communications supportSECNAV visits Bataan, thanks crew for efforts in HaitiContinued on page 6 Continued on page 2 Pfc. Paul Garland and Pfc. Sean McCall, signal Soldiers both current ly assigned to the Joint Forces Special Operation Component Command, check the set up of a AV/2011 SATCOM antenna for voice and data tactical communications. The United States and other international military and civilian aid agencies are conducting humanitarian and diFull story page 3 TOURGEAU, Haiti -The Naval Facili ties Engineering Command partnered with U.S. Navy Seabees, Air Force and Army engineers Feb. 26 here to train Haitian engineers on building assessment ensuring Haitian citizens are living in structurally sound buildings. The work we are doing today is to systematically walk through neighborhoods assessing damage, said Vince Sobach, a structual engineer with the Joint Task Force Engineers, NAVFAC. The primary goal is to get people back in their homes. The second part of the mission is training the local Haitian engineers. Basically we are doing a technology transfer. We are trying to both things at the same time since time is of the essence. A lot of the residents of Tourgeau are in one of the local internally displaced per sons camp that is very much overcrowded, said Sobach. American, Haitian engineers assess building damageXVIII Airborne Corps Sailors aboard the multipurpose amphibi ous assault ship USS Bataan and embarked Marines from the 22nd Marine Expedition ary Unit hosted the 75th Secretary of the Navy March 1, as the ship continues to support disaster relief efforts off the coast of Haiti. The Honorable Ray Mabus met with Sailors and Marines on Bataans mess decks before thanking the entire crew over the ships general announcing system for their efforts. One thing I dont think you hear enough of is thank you, and how much America appreciates you. On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your service. Thank you for your skill, and thank you for your patri otism, said Mabus. When the earthquake hit Haiti, people just expected America to be able to respond. Well, it just doesnt happen without a lot of training. It doesnt happen without building ships like Bataan. It doesnt happen without the people on Bataan doing what you do. While Mabus time aboard was brief, he was able to witness and appreciate the efforts the blue-green team aboard Bataan has brought to the devastated island nation. Not enough people realize what the capacity of a big-deck (amphibious assault ship) is and all the different things you can do, said Mabus. There is absolutely no other country on earth that could do what youve done here. Mabus previously visited Bataan in August returns a salute to the rainbow sideboys aboard the multipurpose ship USS Bataan, Mabus visited Bataan to show his appreciation for the crews effort dur By Public Affairs StaffUSS Bataan


The Responder is an electronic newsletter distributed by the JTF-H PAO. All photos are Department of Defense unless otherwise credited. The Responder is an electronic newsletter published every Wednesday and Saturday for the Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen and Marines of JTF-Haiti.Commander JTF-Haiti Lt. Gen. P. K. (Ken) Keen Command Senior Enlisted Advisor JTF-Haiti Sgt. Maj. Louis M. Espinal JTF-Haiti Public Affairs Senior Enlisted Advisor Sgt. Maj. Sharon Opeka Responder Staff: Editor Sgt. Richard Andrade Public Affairs Specialist Spc. A.M. LaVey The editor can be reached at The Responder tent, by phone: 797-7009 and or by email: THE RESPONDERTelling the Joint Task Force-Haiti story a call to duty So we are going to sweep this neighborhood and try to decom press that camp. The goal today is to evaluate all the houses and structures in the neighborhood of Tourgeau for earthquake damage and get people back to safe houses or tell them is they are living in a dangerous one, said Bryan Haelsig, NAVFAC engineer. The group of engineers walked from house to house knocking on doors, looking in and around buildings and talking to residents. All of the Haitian citizens opened their doors with no protests and We are here to do the assessments for two reasons, said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Scott A. Shaulis, a staff engineer with NAVFAC. According to a United Nations poll, it is estimated that the people living in the large displaced persons camp near the palace, about 85 percent of them are from Tourgeau. earthquake, Shaulis said, it is hoped that they will come home and alleviate the strain on that camp. The long term goal, said Shaulis, is to compile all the informa tion that we are gathering, give it to the Haitian government and they will decide what to do from there. Shaulis said, This is a good and noble effort to come in and tell them you can feel safe going back in to that building.Engineerscontinued from page 1 from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, speak with a NAVFAC partnered with U.S. Navy Seabees, Air Force and mand, evaluate the structural damage of a building from the outside before getting permission to go inside.


3 The Army organizes its chaplain operations into Unit Minsistry Teams (UMTs). The UMT consists of one chaplain (of any religion) and one enlisted chaplain assistant (of any or no religion). The chaplain assistant supports the chaplain in a wide variety of ways. The assistant is the chaplains driver and administrative specialist. The assistant sets up for religious services (in accord with whatever faith or denomination his or her chaplain is) both in garrison chapel settings and and schedules appointments for the chaplain for counseling; to this end, chaplain assistants enjoy privileged communication with soldiers, the lains have with penitents and defense lawyers have with clients. And most importantly (at least in this chaplains mind!), the assistant is the chaplains bodyguard, as it has always been the policy of Americas ser vices chiefs of chaplains that chaplains will not carry weapons of any sort in their role as con-combatants. Here in JTF-Haiti, chaplain assistants have supported operations in line with their duties. Assistants driving or navigating the horrors of to use that time on the road to record notes from their last visit or mentally prepare for their next. Assistants ensure that altars and pulpits are set up worthily, that seating is available for congregants, and that everything in the chapel tent or worship area is cleaned of the ubiquitous, omnipresent, powdery dust that seemingly covers everything here in Haiti. And while the danger physical threats are relatively low here, assistants still ensure that their chaplains are not mobbed by people eager to receive radios, food, water, or just to touch an American in appreciation for the work were doing. So similar to another adage: behind every good chaplain is a great chaplain assistant.CHAPLAINS CORNERPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Soldiers assigned to the communications directorate for the Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command have played a criti cal role in supporting civil affairs and other humanitarian operations conducted by U.S. special operations forces here during OpSpecial operations forces served as the commander's eyes on the ground during the early days of the rescue and recovery phases of relief operations in the wake of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Jan. 12. These tasks rely heavily on vital links between forward elements and operational commanders, a support capability that Signal Corps Soldiers bring to an operation. "There's a lot of coordination and stream lining that goes into our job, because we have to work across a variety of networks and satellite feeds," said Army Staff Sgt. Kelly Williams, a communications team leader. "We have to ensure the end user, our ties they need to accomplish their assigned tasks." To remain mission capable, Williams Soldiers provide communications support in HaitiBy Navy Lt. Arlo Abrahamson Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command Pfc. Paul Garland, a signal Soldiers with the Joint Forces Special Operation Component Command, checks the set up of a AV/2011 SATCOM antenna for voice and data tactical communications. The United States and other international military and civilian aid agencies are conducting humanitarian and disaster relief opera said, computer networks must continue to ellite communications equipment must be managed and maintained. "There's a lot of security protocols and other procedures we must follow to run eftry to make that as transparent as possible for our users." But as Army Staff Sgt. Wayne Potts explained, there's also a hands-on portion of their mission. "The civil affairs teams bring communi but we show them how to get the most out of this equipment," Potts said. "We want to make sure they have the right capabilities when they get to where they are going so they can concentrate on the overall mission we have here in Haiti." That mission, humanitarian operations, is one these Soldiers know they have enhanced with the skills they bring to the operation. "We feel good knowing we played a part in the overall success of our mission," said Army Sgt. Derek Auguste. "Communica tions are vital to any operation everyone has to talk and coordinate with each other. We feel like we created an environment where that could be successful." JTF-H Catholic Chaplain


4Continued on page 5PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Soldiers from Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Air borne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., guard the American embassy helicopter landing zone here. Spc. Thomas Gabala, a multichannel transmission systems operator maintain er with Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, provides helicopter landing zone security, which consists of making sure people or wandering animals do not disrupt helicopters from landing or leaving. What we are doing is making sure the landing zone is free of any animals, like cows, which on occasion wander into the area but we gently shoo them away, he said. A lot of the kids like to hang out at the gate and socialize with us, sometimes even helping us out with our jobs, said Gabala. When speaking of the mission in Haiti, Gabala said, I actually wanted to volun teer for the mission before I found out 2nd XVIII Airborne Corps Soldiers from Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort na Lumpkin, both information technology specialists, watch as people arrive at the LZ they protect. Both have BCT was going, so I am actually glad I am doing this, said Gabala. Spc. Anthony Knight, a Company C cable systems installer maintainer provides communications for the BCT and helps with humanitarian aid missions. The helicopter landing zone mission is also part of his duties, protecting the shift lasts. When asked about what has affected him the most during his time in Haiti, Knight said, All of the rubble, and all of the fallen buildings. I was at a food distribution point here in Haiti for 14 days, handing out water and bags of rice, he said. I got a chance to talk to the locals and they said that they are glad that we are here and that they ap preciate all that we do. Knight said his family back home in New Jersey supports him being in Haiti, he said, they are happy that I am here. They are happy that I get to help out the Haitian people in need. Knight said, This mission has made me appreciate things more. I see kids who dont have any parents, and that makes me appreciate my parents. I am just happy that I could help the Haitians, and I am glad that I had the op portunity to come here, said Knight. Spc. Sharina Lumpkin, a Company C information technology specialist, has been in Haiti since Feb. 4 and has been on Thomas Gabala, a multichannel transmission systems operator from Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., guards the American em


5 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -Medics from the Colombian army and the air force are working side by side with U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy doctors at an intermediate aftercare facility in Port-au-Prince. The fact that the IAF is so close to the port makes it easy for the medics to transport patients to and from the USNS Comfort. Columbian army Col. Pedro Segura ar rived to assist with the ongoing humani tarian aid their country is providing to the people of Haiti Feb. 27. He is in charge of the Columbian contingency that is in Portau-Prince working with U.S. forces. We will be in Haiti as long as it takes, said Segura. We will do our best to collaborate with the U.S. forces to help the people of Haiti, he said. The Colombian Red Cross is also in Haiti, crank radios at many food distribution points. The newly arrived medics are eager to be part of the Haitian mission. Colombian army Lt. Col. Antonio Beltran who has been in Haiti since Jan. 31, said that the Government of Colombia initially sent 27 anesthesiologists, orthopedists, medics arrive in HaitiXVIII Airborne Corpsnurses and physicians to provide medical care. After a month or so in Haiti their replacements have come from various parts of Colombia to help assist the medics here and the doctors working at the USNS Comfort, said Beltran. When asked about his experience working with the U.S. forces here, Beltran said, It has been a tremendous experience, in a sense that there has been a lot of camarade rie, they have learned a lot both professionally and personally. Colombian army 2nd Lt. Jenny Milena Acevedo is a nurse assigned to the Columbian contingency that has arrived to medi cal assistance here. She is glad to be here to support the doctors here and be of assistance to the Haitian patients that require medical help. We are from many parts of the Colombia, most of us are doctors, others are nurses, and we will be here for approximately a month, Acevedo said. Colombian air force 2nd Lt. Lil Geraldine Avendano Chavez is the chief medical ofColumbia. Her aviation skills will be put to use when there is an air medical evacuation in Haiti. working with their U.S. counterparts at an intermediate aftercare facility here. They are assisting with Colombias on-going humanitarian aid many humanitarian missions during her time here. Lumpkin said everything about this mis sion has affected her. Everything that I have seen here so far, really makes you take a second glance at all the things that we have back home that we dont really appreciate. Response has changed Lumpkin. of things that I have that I dont really need, and to come and see those that have hardly nothing at all, really changes that way that you view some things back home. Pfc. Aanjali Anderson, a Company C information technology specialist, has also been personally moved by this mission. She said, It makes me want to cry, every time we go out. and there were people laying on the street, inches away from out tires because they didnt have anywhere else to sleep, Anderson said, That made me not want to go out there, but I know we have to, its sad. Anderson will always carry her impres sions of Haiti with her. Ive never seen anything like this. It makes me think that we have way too much that we take for granted back in the states, she said. rethink everything I am doing back in the states, all the things I dont need and how I can help other people, Anderson said. As the four soldiers from Company C were gathering their thoughts, a helicop put their equipment on and grabbed their the gate for the Soldiers and they posted themselves on the four corners of the land ing zone. Making sure that no Haitian child, stray goat or meandering cow wanders into the area, they maintain vigilance. Four heli copters land a few minutes apart. Haitian kids walk towards the Soldiers and stand next to them to watch the helicopters land. They know not to get too close to the heli copters. As the helicopters depart from the get into vehicles, the four paratroopers walk back towards the base gate -another successful landing. Paratroopers continued from page 4Continued on page 6


POSTCARDS FROM HAITI Colombian medicscontinued from page 5SECNAVcontinued from page 1 6 I am trained to be an air combat medic, we work both in air planes and helicopters, said Chavez, Colombia is very mountainous, so our principal mode of transportation is via helicopter, said Chavez, we mainly use the UH-60 Black Hawk to evacuate casualties. When asked what Chavez thought of the Haiti mission, she said, There are very few aviation evacuation medics in my part of the country, so once they found my replacement, I was glad that I was chosen to be able to come to Haiti. Before patients receive care on the ship, they are seen by the doctors at the intermediate aftercare facility the Colombian medics are working at. If they require further medical treatment they are of 2009 when the ship was deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, performing Maritime Security Operations. The ship returned to her homeport of Norfolk Dec. 8, 2009, before surging to support operations in Haiti Jan. 14. It is an astounding thing that you were able to pivot from the mission you had in the Gulf to the mission you have herethat everybody turned around and changed missions and did this good of a job, said Mabus. Mabus continued to praise the team aboard Bataan as he introduced himself and shook the hand of every Sailor and Marine he encountered. It was great opportunity for the crew to meet the Navys seWhen hes on aboard and talking about the great work Bataan did down here, thats motivating. Comforting sight part of the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission, which also includes the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry.


POSTCARDS FROM HAITIforms for the crew of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan during a comedy show on the mess decks Feb. 22. Simeone and Tom Foss have performed many shows for troops since 2008 and began their cur