The Responder : Joint Task Force Haiti Newsletter


Material Information

The Responder : Joint Task Force Haiti Newsletter
Physical Description:
Joint Task Force Haiti
Joint Task Force Haiti
Place of Publication:


newspaper   ( sobekcm )


General Note:
Source: Historical Research Collection, Office of the Command Historian, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, FL 33172

Record Information

Source Institution:
FIU: Special Collections
Holding Location:
FIU: Special Collections
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


THE RESPONDERVol. I, Issue 9 March 14, 2010Telling the Joint Task Force-Haiti storya call to duty Servicemembers take measures to combat malariaby Spc. Willam R. Begley11th PADPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti As of March 12th, there have been 12 cases of malaria reported here, with 10 Soldiers and two Marines fall ing victim to the disease. Deployed personnel are being prescribed medication for the prevention of malaria, with Doxycycline being the most prescribed. Additionally, U.S. forces are utilizing mosquito nets, insect repellant and wearing their sleeves down to avoid exposure to mosquitoes. Malaria is a common infection found typically in the tropics, and is a huge issue in Haiti, said Capt. Donald Adams, a physicians assistant with Special Troops Battalion, U.S. Army South. ia, along with body aches, joint aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, said Adams. Individ uals with such symptoms need to be checked immediately. Most people coming to Haiti usually start on Doxycycline days to weeks prior to deployment. This provides them with the initial protection to come into a country that has The anti-malaria medications, Doxycylcline Hyclate, is seen in the hand of a Soldier. Taking the medication under the advisement of a medical professional is shown to decrease your chances of catching malaria. (U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Cody Barber / 11th PAD)continued on page 6USNS Comfort completes Haiti mission CARIBBEAN SEA -The USNS Comfort sits off the shore of Haiti. The Comfort, provided urgent medical care to people injured in the Jan. 13 earthquake that rocked the nation of Haiti. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. A.M. LaVey / XVIII Airborne Corps)Public Affairs StaffPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti The hospital ship USNS Comfort will leave Haiti tomorrow, as U.S. Southern Command ofpleted its humanitarian relief mission in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation. Haiti have assumed a greater role in addressing the health-care needs of Haitians, and the need for urgent, life-saving medical "Over the last 10 days, we've seen over a 65 percent reduction in patients on board the [Comfort], as they have been appropriately transferred to local hospitals for follow-on care," Army Col. Jennifer Menetrez, Joint Task Force Haiti's command surgeon, said during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable, March 4. The last patient treated for earthquake-related injuries aboard the Comfort was discharged from the ship, Feb. 27, Menetrez added. The hospital ship began supporting humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti after rechoring off Port-au-Prince on Jan. 20. Over the course of seven weeks, the ship's U.S military and civilian medical personnel treated 871 patients, receiving one patient every six to nine minutes at the Comfort's medical staff also performed 843 surgeries aboard the ship during the mission, treating more than 540 critically injured The hospital ship ran 10 operating rooms at full capacity to care for injured Haitian and U.S. earthquake survivors requiring surgical care. Comfort's medics also treated U.S. and international military personnel transferred to the ship by physicians on the ground for surgical and nonsurgical care. Volunteer experts from the Orthopedic Trauma Association, Project Hope, Operation Smile, National Nurses United, Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine and other nongovernmental organizations provided the ship's medical team with orthopedic continued on page 5


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 Command Senior Enlisted Advisor JTF-Haiti Sgt. Maj. Louis M. Espinal JTF-Haiti Public Affairs Senior Enlisted Advisor Sgt. Maj. Rick Black Responder Staff: Editor Spc. A.M. LaVey Public Affairs Specialist Pvt. Samantha Hall The editor can be reached at The Responder tent, by DSN phone: 413-254-8007 or by email: JTFHPAOCI@CORE1.DJC2.MIL THE RESPONDERTelling the Joint Task Force-Haiti story a call to dutyJTF-H staff transitions, Sky Dragons redeploy PORT-AU-PRINCE,HaitiOn Monday, March 15, the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C., will complete its transition of duties as the core Joint Task ForceHaiti planning staff after more than two months in Haiti, in support of Operation Unito Soldiers from U.S. Army South, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In historic fashion, the XVIII Airborne Corps universally known as Americas Contingency Corps responded to the Nations call to duty. Within 48 hours of the Jan. 12 cata strophic earthquake, which brought massive destruction and killed more than 220,000 people, nearly 150 Corps staff members responded to an international call to help from the Haitian people. The XVIII Airborne Corps is the epitome of the word contingency, which as a provision made against future unforeseen events. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake was certainly an unforeseen event and the Corps was distinc tively postured to respond. Once on the ground, these Paratroopers formed the foundation of the staff and quickly synchronized planning efforts at a critical time in the relief Col. Steve Smith, the outgoing chief of staff, Joint Task Force Haiti, receives the Defense Meritorious Achievement Medal for his service here from Lt. Gen. P.K. Ken Keen, commanding general, JTF-H during a primary staff awards ceremony at the Joint Operations Center, Logistical Support Area Dragon March 10. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. A.M. LaVey / XVIII Airborne Corps)mission. The ability of the Corps to coordinate and synchronize complex operations with interagency organizations partners such as U.S. Agency for International Development, United Nations forces Joint Task Force-Haiti. The Corps staff operational experiences in both Iraq and Afghanistan were uniquely suited to meet mission requirements The staff managed resources and assets which led to the immediate reorganization and management of the Portau-Prince airport on Jan. 13, the reopening of the port on Jan. 22 and successful distribution of food in support of the World Food Program. The staff also tackled the tough issues of debris and shelter management and resettlement. The crisis resulted in vali dating the critical role of the Corps command post as an enabler within the global reDan Allyn, deputy command ing general, XVIII Airborne Corps and JTF-H. The entire team provided immediate capacity to JTF-H commander to rapidly gain situational awareness and the ability to prioritize actions to best support the mission and Haitian people. The XVIII Airborne staff is returning to Fort Bragg where it will begin preparations for its deployment to Iraq next year.Col. Duane Gamble, the J4 and outgoing sustainment chief, Joint Task Force Haiti, briefs his replacement, Col. Steve Woods of U.S. Army South at the Joint Logistical Operations Center, Logistical Support Area Dragon, March 12. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. A.M. LaVey / XVIII Airborne Corps)


3Combat controllers bring order during chaotic timesby SrA David Salanitri HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. It was 1:30 in the morning Jan. 13 when Tech. Sgt. phone call that shaped the next two weeks of his life. Just hours after taking that team of combat controllers from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron here were deploying to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in response to the earthquake. there, the Air Force Special Operations Command combat controllers arrived at the Toussaint LOuverture International Airport around 6 p.m. Jan. 13 with much work ahead of them. hand for the team was to conduct a runway assessment. We had to determine the extent of damage to the runway as well Combat controllers talk to aircraft circling the Toussaint LOuverture International Airport Jan. 23, 2010, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Airmen are from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios)as the control tower, said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Hepler, on the 23rd STS combat controller team. The runway was safe. The tower was damaged and unsafe for use. The runway lights were operational, so the ramp was capable of 24-hour operations, but there was little movement at the airport. The parking ramp, designed to safely accommodate eight to 12 aircraft, was now gridlocked with 42 aircraft of varying sizes, parked nose-to-nose and under each others wings. Within 28 minutes of landing in Haiti, the team of combat controllers took full control of air operations in the theater. ment propped up on our ATV, we had no tables, no chairs, just our ATV and the ground to conWith an over-packed airport, the combat controllers had and overcome this challenge. We developed a rotation called the Haitian maneuver, landed we would have it continue on to pass the taxiway, then bring it in just as another aircraft was departing, creating a one-for-one swap. From total congestion and continued on page 5 continued on page 5Mission proves skills, flexibilityby Lisa Daniel manitarian response in Haiti, then in Chile, proved the skills and compassion of service members and showed how fast U.S. Southern Commands mission can change from its ongoing challenges in Latin America, Southcoms commander said here March 10. lined Southcoms missions to the Senate Armed Services Committee, highlight ing service members work in the after math of the earthquake that leveled much of Haiti in January, prompting a massive international humanitarian relief effort. Ive personally seen what these brave young men and women are capable of, said Fraser, who took over the command last year. The men and women who deployed to Haiti performed magresentatives of our military, displaying compassion and a sense of focus. The magnitude 7 earthquake hit the island nation on Jan. 12, and multiple U.S. military assets were there within 24 hours, GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba--U.S. Navy harbor tug boat, Santaquin, pulls into the pier while amphibious dock landing ship, USS Carter Hall, gets under way here, March 4, 2010. Carter Hall was in port conducting an environmental washdown on the equipment used in support of disaster relief efforts in Haiti. Environmental washdowns are required before bringing equipment back into the United States. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Bill Mesta) Coming throughFraser said. In total, some 22,000 U.S. servicemembers provided humanitar ian support to Haiti, providing 2 million meals, 2.6 million liters of water and 17 million pounds of bulk food. And thousands of surgeries were performed on the hospital ship USNS Comfort, he said. Less than two months later, a magni tude 8.8 earthquake devastated Chile.


Marines begin phased departure from HaitiA U.S. Army landing craft pulls up to a beach to unload equipment from USS Carter Hall during its washdown in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, March 1. The washdown, a standard process that prevents foreign soil, agriculture and organisms from contaminating the U.S., marks the beginning of the Bataan Cpl. Geoffrey M. Smith, a driver with the Transportation Support Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 22, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Force, cleans a seven-ton truck that was used in Haiti March 1. (USMC photo by by Cpl. Bobbie Curtis)Story by Cpl. Bobbie Curtis nearly two months of dedicated work to providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Haiti, crippled by a severe earthquake, Marines and Sailors from elements of the 22nd Marine Expedition Response toward Camp Lejeune, N.C. The Caribbean country, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12. Less than a week lat er the Sailors and Marines of the 22nd MEU quickly mobilized and arrived off the coast of Haiti, aboard several ships from the U.S. Having just returned from a seven-month deployment in Europe and the Middle East, the experienced group of Marines and Sailors were well trained and prepared to take on the challenging humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort that awaited them. Using the four elements of a Marine Airwere expeditiously inserted by air and sea into several locations west of the nations capital, Port-au-Prince. Once on the ground, troops established secure bases to begin recations, hundreds-of-thousands-of-pounds of food and water were distributed to earth quake victims in the surrounding areas. 1st Lt. Peter M. Balawender, logistics ofMarine Expeditionary Unit, said their initial HA responses allowed non-governmental organizations to build strength and prepare to take over the relief efforts for the longterm rebuilding of the Haitian infrastructure. viding assistance, and the Marines did a wonderful job providing care, food, water and medical supplies, the Laport, Indiana, native said. I think the Marine Corps as a whole did a good job supporting the There was a four-week period where services, Balawender continued, we bridged that gap until they were strong. Besides food and water distribution, the Marines and sailors also provided other services to the people of Haiti, which included debris removal and several water assessments. continued on page 64


While the humanitarian crisis and request for assistance was not as great as in Haiti, the U.S. military again responded within 24 hours, providing critical imagery and satellite phones to the Chilean government, Fraser said. The tragedy in Haiti is a stark reminder of the nature of the challenges we face in the region, the general said. Southcoms emphasis on relationship-build ing and partnerships proved important, he said. Beyond humanitarian responses, Southcom is focused on challenges to the stability and security of the Comforttrauma, surgical, nursing and anesthesia support. "We are immensely proud of the contributions made by everyone who helped treat critically injured earthquake survivors aboard [the] Comfort," of U.S. Southern Command. "Their efforts saved the lives of many patients and helped everyone treated begin the important process of recovery. "Their rapid response and contribution to the international relief efforts in Haiti helped the country overcome an urgent medical crisis at a time when access to surgical care on the ground was very limited," the general added. Combat Controllersnose-to-nose parking upon ar rival, the team of combat controllers turned chaos into order. weve shown up somewhere with nothing but our radios and had to bring order and control to a chaotic situahad to do this several times in Afghanistan and throughout the area of responsibility. In total, the 23rd STS team brought in 1,675 air craft and 830 helicopters in the 12 days they were there. I have been fortunate to have occasions, said Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Travis, the special tactics team lead. I have had the honor to work with tions in the world. Nothing has been as rewarding as the two weeks controlling the Port-auI have never been more proud of what I do and the decisions I have made over my career than watching the bar raised in Haiti by the special tactics Air men and 1st Special Operations Wing, Travis said. I have thought how to put into words how I feel as a leader. Every angle I look at leads to a single one word answer: humbled. Mission Comfort's crew worked closely with Haiti's health ministry and health care professionals from the U.S. Agency for International Development, international relief organiza tions and nongovernmental organizations to secure follow-on care for patients in recovery. By early February, as relief efforts in the areas near the earthquake's epicenter gained momen tum and medical treatment facilities began or resumed operations in those areas, the numbers of patients with earthquake-related injuries ar riving aboard Comfort gradually declined. By Feb. 28, Comfort was no longer treating patients Comfort is scheduled to return to its home port in Baltimore, March 14. 5 tant part of the economy in Haiti. (US Army photo by Spc. A.M. LaVey / XVIII Airborne Corps) region, including narcotics proliferation of gangs, competing ideologies, and the reach of Iran, Russia and China into the region, Fraser said. As globalization trends continue, our security will depend upon expanding cooperative engagement with multinational, multiagency and public-private partners in our hemisphere, he said. We will be better able to meet complex challenges of the 21st century security environment by building robust, enduring partnerships now. Together, we are stronger and more effective than working as a single organization or nation operating individually, Fraser said. Southcom has strong mil itary-to-military relations with every counterpart in the region except Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba, Fraser said. I see real competition in the region for various ideologies, but I see the view of the U.S. growing, too, he told the Senate panel. Southcom detected a decreased amount of sea-based noting 46 maritime movements, compared to 68 in 2008. From a destabilizing standpoint, my biggest concern is Southcom is working with U.S. Northern Command and combat the spread of illegal drugs in the region, he said. cation of the Latin America Free Trade Agreement would affect the region, the general said he thinks it would be a very positive step forward. Fraser noted the economic importance of the region, the United States largest market with nearly 38 per cent of U.S. trade worth about $1.5 trillion per year. The region supplies 52 per cent of U.S. crude oil imports, compared to 13 percent from The Panama Canal, he added, is paramount in strategic and economic importance, as nearly two-thirds of ships transiting the canal are going to or coming from a U.S. port.


MalariaMedical personnel from the 22nd MEU and the USS Bataan treated nearly 100 earthquake victims aboard USS Bataans medical facilities. moved their presence into Carrefour, Haiti, a one-million per son city on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. While in the city, Marines and Sailors conducted civil affairs missions throughout the area, successfully bringing the people of the city togeth er with local leaders, and the local and national government. The Marines began scaling back their food and water disover operations. Marines continue to remain in the area to provide supplemental security for further distributions. of the 22nd MEU participated in the World Food Programs massive distribution of food. During this time, the Marines from the MEUs ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, assisted U.N. security forces, the WFP and correa malaria problem, said Adams. Even with appropriate protection such as bed netting, pyrethrin treated uniforms, and Deet applied to the skin, one can acquire malaria, Adams said. 11 of the service members showed syptoms in theatre, while the other one didnt develop symptoms until he returned home to Fort Bragg, N.C. Five of the cases were treated here in Haiti, two were treated aboard a Navy ship and the remaining had to be airlifted to the United States. We are going to treat malaria aggressively since complications from malaria can include long term illness and possibly death, said Adams. We want to advocate for people to take their medications on time. This along with the other precautions should drastically reduce the chance of becoming ill. It is important that Servicemem bers follow the guidelines on taking their medications and following preventative measures to reduce their risk of contracting malaria. Take it everyday, said Sgt. Zach ary Hover, a medic with Headquarters Supply Company, Special Troops Battalion, U.S. Army South, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. are Soldiers not taking their Doxy. Take it every day...every day. Marines PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -A Naval Aircrewman looks over the city from his perch aboard a Navy Seahawk helicopter. (US Army photo by Spc. A.M. LaVey / XVIII Airborne Corps)6taining Marines from the 22nd MEU, USS Carter Hall, ar in an agricultural wash-down of all equipment that assisted relief efforts ashore in Haiti. This process stops the possible spread of environmental hazards that could enter the U.S. The Marines and Sailors worked through the night of March 1, using pressure washers, scrub brushes and good old-fashioned elbow grease to remove all foreign items and soil from all of their military vehicles and equipment. The USS Carter Hall is scheduled to return to the U.S. the seond week of March, with the other two ships of the amphibi ous ready group slated to do the same process before mid-April. The 22nd MEU is embarked aboard the ships of the Bataan vide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the wake of a devastating earthquake that struck the country Jan. 12. The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron


POSTCARDS FROM HAITI PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti U.S. Navy Cmdr. Richard Froderman gives children toys at the Associa tion Solidarit et Fraternit, an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 7, 2010. The DOD and Haitians affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the region Jan. 12, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 David A Frech) PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Pfc. Troy Sims, a human resources specialist with the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C., speaks with a local child outside the gates of Logistical Support Area Dragon on March 10. Sims provides adminstrative support for the Joint Task Force -Haiti. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. A.M. LaVey / XVIII Airborne Corps) U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Arier Santiago teaches a Haitian child how to jump rope at the Solidante Fraternite orphanage in Portau-Prince, Haiti, March 7, 2010. Santiago is (DoD photo by MC! David A. Frech)7