Task Force Bon Voizon Completes Haiti Relief Operations
By Dialogo June 28, 2011
The Louisiana National Guard-led task force providing humanitarian relief to Haiti officially ended its two-month mission in a small ceremony in Port-Au-Prince.
Task Force Bon Voizen — translated “good neighbor” — provided medical, dental and veterinary care to more than 2,100 animals and 32,000 people. Its engineers built a three-room school, two medical clinics and restroom facilities.
This year’s exercise marked the second time the Louisiana National Guard was called upon to lead humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake.
More than 2,300 servicemembers from three countries came together in the Artibonite department, a rural area 70 miles northwest of Port-Au-Prince.
Col. Kenneth Donnelly, the task force commander, called the mission a life-changing experience, and praised the efforts of the troops who deployed here to work in austere conditions.
“The Soldiers, Airmen and Marines of the task force are regular people, with regular jobs back in their hometowns and duty stations.” Donnelly said. “They came to give instead of take. They came to act instead of talk.”
Support for the task force came from National Guard troops from several states including Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida and North Dakota. The Army Reserve provided medical staff and engineers.
The active-duty Army supplied communications troops, the Air Force provided meteorologists and the Marine Corps provided civil affairs specialists.
The task force also was supported by physicians from the Colombian and Canadian armies and engineers from the Belize Defence Force. Japanese engineers also helped to build the school, and U.N. peacekeeping forces from Argentina provided security at task force medical and dental clinics.