Sunday, January 17, 2010

US Support for Haiti following 7.0 Earthquake

I am amazed at the amount of disaster relief that is being sent to Haiti by the US Navy. A “Sea Base” is being assembled off the coast of Haiti including ships that make it uniquely configured to offer aid. It is anchored by the Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson which, like all US carriers, has a 4.5 acre flight deck.

The medical staff on the USS Carl Vinson is treating patients in their state of the art 50-bed medical clinic. Doctors from the USS Carl Vinson also went onshore to treat patients in an impromptu clinic on the beach. A Haitian baby was born aboard a Coast Guard cutter, child of a woman who had been rescued. Mother and baby along with other Haitians were later transferred to the Carl Vinson medical facility. The primary mission of the Vinson is to ferry personnel and supplies by helicopter but they are filling in the gap until the hospital ship, the USNS Comfort arrives. The Comfort has a 1000 bed facility as well as state of the art equipment.

Injured Haitians have been flown to the US Naval Hospital at Guantanamo Bay to be treated and stabilized before being transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

US helicopters have been dropping water, Gatorade, bandages and MREs.

Ships either already in Haiti or on the way:

USS Carl Vinson
USS Grasp (Salvage Ship with Divers for Haiti's Port)
USS Bataan (Medical facilities)
USS Fort McHenry
USS Underwood
USS Normandy
USS Carter Hall (Marine Expeditionary Force)
USS Gunston Hall (Marines)
USS Higgins (afloat logistical services for the Coast Guard)
USNS Henson (an oceanographic survey ship)
USNS Sacagawea (can offload cargo with no port)
USNS 1st LT Jack Lummus (dry cargo ship)
USNS Comfort (Hospital Ship)
Seabee units, navy engineers, and navy dive teams are there.

I have only mentioned the response from the Navy. The US Southern Command has established a task force called Operation Unified Response. The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard are all assisting with relief operations. The Air Force is working on getting the Haitian airport repaired. The soldiers are providing security on the ground to control looting and rioting and to ensure the orderly distribution of supplies. The US military is assessing the need and coordinating efforts from the US and internationally. Currently there are 5000 US military personnel in Haiti and on Monday there will be 7500 more. Our military is an awesome war machine but they are also uniquely suited to be first responders in disasters such as this one.

This is only the military response. As I make my daily rounds of the internet I see many sites facilitating donations for Haiti. My Points, Swag Bucks, Zazzle, Squidoo, Kmart and Amazon are just a few of the internet sites offering a way to donate to the Haiti relief effort. I've also seen that local communities have efforts underway to help the victims in Haiti. Americans always step up to the plate when disaster strikes. It touches my heart to witness the generous spirit of the American people.

When I see a US response of this magnitude it makes me wonder why countries around the world hate us so much. It is the wealth created within the free enterprise system that gives us the resources to support an operation of this size. It will be very, very expensive and I have not heard anyone complaining about the cost. I wonder how much aid is coming from communist and socialist countries that despise capitalism? I heard that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela sent one planeload of supplies. How much did Saudi Arabia, the richest country in the world send? What about China or Russia? The world knows that they can count on the US to be there in time of need and they know we will be equipped to get the job done.

Quick Link:
USS Carl Vinson

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