Thursday, January 21, 2010

USNS Comfort Arrives in Haiti

On Saturday, January 16, 2010 as part of Operation Unified Response, the USNS Comfort left Baltimore and arrived in Haiti on Wednesday morning. The 900-foot floating hospital with 550 medical personnel and 60 civilians is anchored off the coast of Port-au-Prince.

A 6.1 aftershock Wednesday morning demolished a pier that the Navy had set up to run people by boat to the ship. Patients are now being transported via helicopter.

As early as Tuesday, quake victims aboard a nearby aircraft carrier were flown to the Comfort. The patients were a 20-year-old man suffering from a spinal fracture and bleeding in the brain and a 6-year-old boy who suffered a fractured pelvis after bricks fell on him.

On Wednesday as the USNS Comfort entered Port-au-Prince and before she dropped anchor, additional patients from land arrived via helicopter. One man had burns to 30 percent of his body, most of which were on his face.

The USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is the third United States Navy ship to bear the name Comfort, and the second Mercy Class Hospital Ship to join the navy fleet. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, the USNS Comfort and her crew do not carry ordnance and firing upon the Comfort is considered a war crime.

On Thursday, January 21, 2010, medical personnel from Haiti and aboard the USNS Comfort were transported to the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) to activate that ship's walking blood bank.

Volunteer Sailors make up the walking blood bank. The Sailors are willing to provide blood in the event of a mass casualty or other medical emergency. The medical team put the call out over the ship's announcing system for A-negative and O- negative blood types.

The USNS Comfort and USS Carl Vinson are participating in Operation Unified Response and are providing military support capabilities to civil authorities to help stabilize and improve the situation in Haiti in the wake of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12.

U.S. Navy ships that have embarked helicopters, landing craft and robust medical capabilities, will comprise a "sea base" around the island from which further relief operations can be staged.

"I'm pleased with the tremendous response by both the Navy and Marine Corps in the flow of forces to Haiti," said Rear Adm. Victory Guillory, Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet.

On January 15, U.S. Navy helicopters operating from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson rescued two American citizens in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

A Sea Hawk helicopter, from the "Tridents" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 responded to a MEDEVAC call from the Air Force 23rd Special Tactics Squadron.

Air Force rescue personnel just freed a man from the rubble of the Hotel Montana, but his legs below the knee were lost. The man was airlifted to the USS Carl Vinson for emergency medical care.

The USS Carl Vinson responded to a second distress call a couple of hours later, sending an MH-60 Knighthawk to evacuate an American woman. A wall collapsed on top of her when the earthquake struck. She is undergoing evaluation by Navy doctors aboard the carrier.

"It looks as though our aircrews may have saved lives," said Rear. Adm. Ted Branch, Commander of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group and Task Force 41, the U.S. Navy's sea-based humanitarian support mission of Haiti.

There are countless stories to be told of the devastation in Haiti and the exemplary work being done by our Military and government. The US despite her critics is out performing the rest of the world in providing aid to the folks of Haiti. There is still plenty of work to be done.

The article, Another Earthquake in Haiti Brings Focus to Haitian Orphans, Adoptions by Jan Corn illustrates the pressing need for the State Department to step-up efforts to unite Haitian orphans with their respective adoptive parents. The situation is exasperated by new orphans created by the earthquake.

Lt. Cmdr. Heidi Lenzini of the U.S. Southern Command said another 225 medical staff and 125 support staff will join the USNS Comfort in Haiti.


1 comment:

Mike Hatz said...

God bless our men and women as they "do the right thing" for which so few on Earth are thankful, but which millions beg for annually!