Military Continues To Support Recovery In Haiti
By Dialogo April 08, 2010The deputy commander of the military task force set up after a devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti said the U.S. military will continue to support the work of Haiti´s government and international agencies after the task force is deactivated at the end of May. Maj. Gen. Simeon G. Trombitas, deputy commanding general of Joint Task Force Haiti, noted during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable yesterday that the mission in Haiti is out of the usual military lane. "In a traditional military mission, we can designate the enemy and do those things easily," he said. "Here, really, the adversaries are the forces of nature and time." Another difference, Trombitas explained, is that instead of commanding and controlling the mission, the U.S. military has played a support role, "coordinating and collaborating" with lead agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, which provided security. Trombitas said he is impressed by how well combat skills have transferred to the relief mission. He observed that servicemembers´ experiences working with civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have paid off in Haiti. The general recalled that the Haiti mission started with work to bring "order from chaos" at the airport. He added that the Seabees performed "a Herculean effort in fixing the main pier [and] the south pier, with some underwater engineering there, bolstering the pylons that the pier stands on." Current efforts are focused on preparing for the coming rainy season by relocating some of the 1.3 million displaced people from camps that are at risk for flooding, Trombitas said. He described the greatest needs as shelter, settlement and sanitation.