Thursday, January 4, 1996 - 1:30 p.m.
Captain Doubleday: Good afternoon.
Tomorrow we are working toward having another briefing which will actually alert you with more details from another expert on the deployment.
Before I answer some of your questions, I have a couple of pieces of information I thought I'd put out to you. We have an announcement that is going to be made a little later this afternoon indicating that the first U.S. contingent of service members will depart from Port au Prince, Haiti, tomorrow as part of the planned UN drawdown of the United Nations mission in Haiti. There are approximately 56 soldiers from the 5th Special Forces Group Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which will depart at 9 a.m. on Friday the 5th. Before boarding the aircraft there is going to be a brief departure ceremony which will be held at the airport commencing at 8:30.
Also, there is a press release that DDI has put out earlier today indicating that the guided missile destroyer HOPPER, DDG-70, will be commissioned on Saturday, January the 6th at Bath Ironworks in Bath, Maine, in a ceremony which begins at 12:30. For the young people in the crowd, I'd just like to remind you that this ship is named for Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper who was one of the pioneering spirits in the field of computer technology, and she led the Navy into the computer age. She retired first in 1967, then was called back to active duty and retired for the second time in 1986. She died in 1992. This is only the first time since World War II and the second time in the history of the Navy that a warship has been named for a woman from the Navy's own ranks. As I say, there's a very comprehensive release on that subject.
With that, I'll try and answer your questions.
Q: On Haiti, how many soldiers are to be withdrawn? What's the number?
A: Let me have DDI give you a rundown on the total number of soldiers. I think you'll see over the next two months some of the units come out. There will still be some of the soldiers left there at the end of the commitment, which falls at the last day of February. There will be some of the redeployments which will occur even after that, but I'll have to get DDI to look into the total number for you.
Q: How many are staying behind?
A: You mean after the end of the commitment?
A: There are none associated with the UN that are staying behind. I think we have from time to time throughout South America, some RED HORSE units that do some engineering exercises, and there may be instances of that in Haiti also, but there are no units staying behind for the UN commitment.
Q: Do you know how many American soldiers are in Bosnia today?
A: Yes. The number of American soldiers in Bosnia as of the 4th of January is 4,239. There are 4,184 in Croatia, and 6,636 in Hungary. They're counting them one by one as they cross over that bridge. (Laughter)
Q: The general mentioned this Copernicus guy. Can we get a briefing from him on... (Laughter)
A: As I indicated earlier, we're going to have another brief tomorrow, and that will be the subject of the brief.