It was called the worst natural disaster in history. The massive earthquake that struck Haiti hit without warning and created more devastation than had been seen in any one geographic location from any natural disaster. The United States Military was there to help with the relief effort almost immediately.
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The Military Response to Disaster in Haiti

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The Military Response to Disaster in Haiti

It was called the worst natural disaster in history. The massive earthquake that struck Haiti hit without warning and created more devastation than had been seen in any one geographic location from any natural disaster. The United States Military was there to help with the relief effort almost immediately.

Many branches of the United States military took swift action in providing humanitarian relief to the victims of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th 2010. A combination of ground support from the Army and National Guard, and Air Force combat equipment provided as much aid as possible to the people of Haiti as swiftly as possible.

COMBAT TRAINED SOLDIERS ON GROUND RELIEF

The Army and Air National Guard both responded quickly in the humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti. Puerto Rico National Guard, which is one of the closest U.S. territories to Haiti, stood by with three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters with 12 crew members, and two C-130 Hercules aircraft with 21 personnel.

Special Tactics teams were sent as some of the first members of ground support. Special Tactics Team members, who are also trained paramedics specifically for trauma related to natural disasters, stood ready to conduct search-and-rescue operations similar to a combat situation.

AIR FORCE RELIEF EFFORTS

When the first relief members arrived on site, the full extent of the damage to the airfields was not known, which is critical to aid and equipment delivery. MC-130H Combat Talon II with relief supplies and special operations combat-trained airmen, flew into Port-Au-Prince on Jan 13, 2010 and Air Force Special operations Command continued providing additional aircrafts carrying people and equipment. Two additional MC-130W Combat Spears were positioned at Hurlburt field for back up support.

In addition to the Port-Au-Prince International Airport, combat controllers searched for potential air-drop areas or other landing zones, allowing additional cargo and personnel to be provided. Some of the relief equipment was delivered via MC-130H included generators, vehicles, fuel, water, food, communications packages, and special operations medical units.

HUMANITARIAN RELIEF AIRCRAFT

For more in depth damage assessment, airmen used the Global Hawk, a long endurance aircraft built for high altitudes. The Global Hawk has sensory equipment to assess geographical damages and send information back to intelligence units on base. The Global Hawk can stay airborne for 27 to 28 hours, making it ideal for helping in such a humanitarian crisis. The aircraft was also used in 2007 to assist firefighters fighting wildfires in Southern California.

The Global Hawk's imagery capabilities helped direct the aid aircrew to the place where the situation was most dire, where supplies were most crucially needed. Seeing the condition of the airfields, airmen were able to send aid to the people of Haiti without having to wait for a ground-team to reach the site.



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