Logistics Task Force Keeps Relief Flowing into Haiti
By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2010 A newly established joint logistics hub at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba is helping save lives by making sure that food, water, supplies, equipment and personnel are delivered to bring relief to survivors of the disastrous Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.
“The Navy isn’t doing anything it doesn’t already know how to do,” U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Patricia E. Wolfe, Supply Corps, commander, Task Force 48 told bloggers during a Jan. 23 "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable.
“We are working around the clock, using aircraft and seaborne assets from multiple services and many, many countries to get medical supplies, food, water, relief personnel and critical equipment to where it needs to be to save lives,” Wolfe said. “It's a fantastic mission and a very, very critical mission.”
The joint task force has over 100 members, consisting of servicemembers from the Navy and Army, providing support to any ships that come through the hub.
The hub also sees anywhere from 15 to 30 flights a day coming in from many different areas. They include commercial, military and foreign military aircraft.
Wolfe said they have a small airport, and are flying some small planes in on a regular basis, but they are using the pier facilities that are available and working cargo over the shoreline as much as possible.
Items that come in ship out right away. “Nothing stays here very long,” she said.
One of the biggest challenges they face is the volume of food, water, tents and supplies that need to go support the people of Haiti.
“The sheer volume going through this hub is phenomenal.”
They have delivered more than 32,000 gallons of bulk water and more than 440,000 bottles of water to 50 different places in Haiti.
The task force has a number of large and small ships surrounding Haiti that include cargo barges and high-speed ferries. They also use small amphibious ships to transport supplies like water, tents and cots.
“Our ships are really pulling their weight in this effort,” Wolfe said.
“Task Force 48 and any of the joint log hubs that the Navy puts forward can support operations anywhere in the world,” she said. “The Navy sea base is here to support military, joint and international operations of the future.”
(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)