The tragedy on January 12, 2010 was far away, but it’s the biggest tragedy on this hemisphere in a long, long time. As usually happens when world disaster strikes, the United States (and some other nations) sprung into action, making sure the people of Haiti (though they may be poor) have what they need to survive. Survivors were pulled out of the rubble for many days after.
After a week of missions into and out of Haiti, aircrews from the New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 914th Airlift Wing returned Thursday, January 21, as new crews rotated in to take their place.
“It was an experience I’ll never forget,” said Capt. Justin Pautler, a 107th C-130 pilot. “Whenever you can utilize your training for the benefit of others, it’s a good thing.”
In the short time that the crews spent there, a noticeable change had become apparent. “The first night we got there it was total chaos,” said Pautler. “But as the week rolled on, a sense of control had been established,” he added.
“We delivered medical and relief supplies down and returned with evacuees,” said Capt. Richard Konopczynsky, a 914th C-130 pilot.
“We brought them back to the United States for medical care,” he added. “Seeing the despair in the faces of the victims, it’s hard not to think of your own family. They were devastated, but were very thankful for what we were doing.”
According to Konopczynsky, he flew twenty plus hour and flew six sorties. He ended up transporting thousands of tons of supplies into Haiti and airlifted more than 100 Haitians to Homestead Air Reserve Station for medical treatment.
And those are just a couple of the names of the many brave men and women who have given their support to help the people of Haiti during their time of need. It’s times like these that my military makes me proud.
Sgt. Stryker out.
22nd MEU Corpsmen Offer Medical Assistance to Haitians
Navy Lt. Matt Swartz (left), surgeon for Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Chief Petty Officer Kenny Mathiesen (center), leading chief petty officer for the BLT’s aid station, talk with Bob Devoe, president of Lifeline Christian Mission group, during a medical site survey on the outskirts of Leogane, Haiti, Jan. 23. The corpsmen of the BLT visited the site in order to see what kind of aid they can offer the group in order to treat the sick and injured local Haitians. Photo by Cpl. Alan Addison
HMH 461 Carrries Supplies to Haiti
A local Haitian man waves an American flag while Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit conduct a food and water resupply mission in a small village near Leogane, Haiti, Jan 22. Marines from the 22nd MEU have been operating in the area since Jan. 19, bringing in food and water to the area. The 22nd MEU is embarked aboard the ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Mission near the island of Haiti to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the wake of a devastating earthquake that rocked the country, Jan. 12. The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its command element. Photo by Cpl. Alan Addison
USS Bataan Located Off the Coast of Haiti
A house in Leogane, Haiti lies in ruin, Jan. 21 after a major earthquake struck the island Jan. 12. The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, embarked aboard the ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, is deployed in support of relief operations in Haiti. Photo by Cpl. Theodore Ritchie
22nd MEU and USS Bataan Resupply
A Navy MH-60S Night Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 lifts pallets of Meals-Ready-To Eat from the USNS Sacagawea, Jan. 23, 2010. Of the 534 pallets of supplies brought onboard, 434 will be used as aid to the people of Haiti. Approximately 2,000 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked from Camp Lejeune, N.C., to help support Operation Unified Response, Jan. 15, 2010. Photo by Staff Sgt. Wayne Campbell