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Haiti's Heroes
by Rick Hoar, Managing Producer
January 22, 2010

Words cannot express how proud I am of the swift and competent aid efforts the U.S. Armed Forces have led in Haiti, following the massive earthquake that shattered that impoverished nation last week.

Aid has been quick to come pouring in from around the world, and it’s safe to say that the American military has spear-headed the impromptu global relief effort.

In the early hours, our military assets in the area began assessing the disaster and relating the scale of Haiti’s need to the watching world.

Then, when the emergency responders of the Earth converged on the tiny island, USAF special teams took on the responsibility of organizing initial operations in the multinational maelstrom of activity.

A small group of airmen secured and restored the main airport and set up a working air traffic control tent to communicate between landing planes while moving incoming equipment efficiently and safely.

There was an initial PR blowback when some aid groups were denied landing clearances by U.S. personnel coordinating on the ground; some foreign aid groups refused to acknowledge any American authority and simply would not talk to the de facto ground controllers. International skepticism soon gave way to respect for the order that the diligent Americans had managed to restore though. Equipment and personnel were brought in quickly and safely, thanks to their professionalism and resolve.

A little later, once rescue operations had started in earnest, the US Navy Ship Comfort was soon at anchor off Port-au-Prince. Providing dedicated medical personnel, life-saving equipment and, yes, comfort to those ashore. The huge, red cross on the hull of the massive hospital ship was surely a welcome sign of safety and a very visible reminder that Haiti was no longer alone in the night.

So, good show, ladies and gentlemen. America’s defenders continue to be shining examples of skill and honor so rare in the world today, and I for one am grateful for their presence. Buy an Enlisted a beer the next time you get the chance (okay, officers are deserving too), and say ‘thanks’ for giving so much. These folks are good people, and it’s as good a time as any to note it.