In another addition to the U.S. military’s efforts to provide disaster relief to victims of Haiti’s earthquake, 2,200 Marines arrived in Haiti, Monday, aboard the USS Bataan.
Their mission is to deliver water, food and medical care to the people of Haiti, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Cornell A. Wilson, told reporters during a news conference Monday, January 18, at USSOUTHCOM headquarters.
Maj. Gen. Wilson, Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South, and Operational Commander of Marine Forces supporting Operation Unified Response, the humanitarian relief effort in Haiti, reiterated the commitment of the U.S. government and military to provide urgently needed aid to the people of Haiti: “Our number one priority is to get water, food and medical supplies ashore as quickly as possible” said Wilson.
The Marines of the 22nd Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU) are part of an amphibious operation with unique capabilities, and will assist both off-shore and on-the-ground, operating off a sea base, explained Maj. Gen. Wilson. “This sea-based force will be able to aid relief efforts without taxing the already strained infrastructure ashore”, said Wilson. Together with the Navy, the 22nd MEU will bring helicopters, landing craft, amphibious vehicles and water purification units to assist in the relief efforts.
The Marines will also be providing security in support of the Government of Haiti. “We are here under the command of U.S. Southern Command to support interagency relief efforts led by USAID and we will also work with our international partners and the United Nations peace keeping operation in Haiti, MINUSTAH, to aid the people of Haiti”, added Maj. Gen. Wilson.