Logistics Agency Aids in Haiti Relief
By Beth Reece
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2010 Defense Logistics Agency employees are working around the clock to provide critical supplies for earthquake victims in Haiti and material for servicemembers conducting humanitarian relief during what has been named Operation Unified Response.
A soldier carries cases of water to a distribution point at a forward operating base in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2010. The Defense Logistics Agency is working to provide critical supplies for earthquake victims in Haiti and material for servicemembers conducting humanitarian relief. DoD photo by Fred Baker III
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The agency has established a DLA support team that is already en route for likely near-term deployment in support of Joint Task Force Haiti. A similar team may possibly deploy to Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba, if Haitian refugees are sent there, said Marine Col. Scott Dalke, DLA Joint Logistics Operations Center division chief.
In subsistence, Defense Supply Center Philadelphia initially arranged for more than 11,000 ready-to-eat meals and 12,500 bottles of water for servicemembers, as well as 60,000 cases of ready-to-eat meals and 18,000 bottles of water for Haitians. Officials said DSCP continues to support similar rapidly evolving requirements.
The Philadelphia-based supply center also met hundreds of requisitions for medical supplies. As crewmembers of the USNS Comfort prepared the hospital ship for its departure from Baltimore last week, DSCP's medical supply chain personnel climbed aboard to help place and fill requirements for what has been reported as the ship's largest mission ever. A DSCP liaison representative also deployed with the ship.
The supply center also is providing tents, cots, pillows, sheets, blankets and health and comfort packs containing hygiene items for servicemembers and Haitians. DSCP is prepared to provide the Haitian police with 20,000 uniforms and 5,000 pairs of boots.
Defense Supply Center Richmond, Va., met a request for 5,000 five-gallon, filled propane tanks for the U.S. Agency for International Development, a federal agency that implements America's foreign economic and humanitarian assistance program in Haiti.
The Defense Energy Support Center sourced 500 drums of diesel fuel and 250 drums of motor gasoline for use by servicemembers. More recently, the 49th Quartermaster Group at Fort Lee, Va., requested 52,000 gallons of jet fuel as it prepares to conduct bulk fuel operations for the relief mission's lead, U.S. Southern Command. Officials said DESC is instrumental in overall Defense Department planning for ongoing fuel support.
Other DLA support includes hydrographic, topographic and flight maps sent to U.S. forces operating in and around Haiti. Defense Supply Center Columbus, Ohio, has deployed Dan Neidert to Southcom headquarters in Miami to help provide repair parts for about nine Navy ships supporting the relief efforts.
In total, 17 DLA employees are deployed with various Defense Department elements that are supporting the Haiti relief effort, and officials said the agency is in constant communications with all parties to anticipate and support emerging requirements.
Navy Vice Adm. Alan Thompson, DLA director, expressed the agency's full support to Southcom last week.
"I want to ensure that DLA is a key enabler to the disaster-relief response,” he said. “This agency will lean forward to support all U.S. Southcom components and government agencies as required while continuing to provide seamless support to the global force.”
The JLOC will continue to operate 24/7 as long as requests for support pour in, Dalke added.
DLA frequently provides humanitarian aid for weather-related natural disasters around the world. Its most recent humanitarian assistance was in response to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana "Ondoy," which flooded the Philippines and Samoan islands in September.
(Beth Reece works in the Defense Logistics Agency's strategic communications office.)