US Army Paratroopers Begin To Secure Haiti Airport

By Dialogo
January 15, 2010

Paratroopers from the US army's 82nd Airborne division set up base at the airport in Haiti's quake-devastated capital Port au Prince on Friday and began shipping in heavy equipment. "We're just setting up control points," said Sergeant Kelab Barrieau as airforce transports from a dozen nations unloaded humanitarian and military supplies on the tarmac at Toussaint Louverture International Airport. "We're going to be branching out around the city to help the United Nations and other forces who need it provide whatever assistance is required," he said, as heavy lift helicopters arrived to join the operation. Troops were to continue arriving throughout the day until the detachment grows to "brigade strength" of several thousand personnel, with units arriving overnight in C-130 and C-17 transports from Fort Bragg in North Carolina. "We're prepared to stay for whatever amount of time is necessary, most likely 60 days, but if more time is needed we will be there to help out," he told an AFP reporter at the scene. The US detachment is the largest so far committed to the aid effort, three days after Tuesday's massive earthquake devastated Port au Prince, killed thousands and destroyed all semblance of governance in this poverty stricken country. As the military flights arrived hundreds of Haitians and foreign citizens were clamoring at the doors of the airport seeking flights out to safety.