WASHINGTON — The United States military has been extremely busy in recent days, coordinating over 100,000 evacuations in Afghanistan and providing Hurricane Ida relief state-side.
Not to be forgotten is the incredible effort put forth by an estimated 1,200 military members to help the people of Haiti following the devastating earthquake that hit the island nation last month.
A seven-point-two magnitude earthquake slammed the island on August 14, resulting in over 2,000 deaths, 12,000 injuries and 150,000 homes being destroyed.
Less than 24 hours later, the U.S. military was on the job.
"Joint Task Force-Haiti" was established in Port-au-Prince and carried out by all U.S. military branches. The task force provided air medical evacuations, delivered aid and transported supplies.
They mobilized six ships, including the Norfolk-based The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington, along with 19 helicopters and eight transport aircrafts.
The final numbers speak for themselves:
JTF-Haiti flew 671 missions to deliver aid and response personnel. They delivered almost 600,000 pounds of humanitarian cargo, including food, water, medical equipment and other critical relief supplies. They additionally transported approximately 200 aid workers and assisted or rescued 477 people.
It's the kind of thing the U.S. military is really good at.
"This life-saving aid and assistance mission is where DOD's unique capabilities, specifically in airlift and logistics are engaged each day to get that life-saving aid where it needs to be rapidly," said Major General Hank Taylor, Deputy Director of the Joint Staff For Regional Operations, speaking last week at a Pentagon news conference.
According to a news release, as of last Friday, the Haitian government, The U.S. Agency for International Development, The Department of Defense and The U.S. Southern Command jointly determined that "U.S. military assets are no longer required."
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Navy announced that the USS Arlington will be returning to Naval Station Norfolk on Wednesday morning.
According to the United Nations, more than 95 non-governmental organizations and other international organizations are now delivering humanitarian assistance and supporting relief operations in Haiti.
Haiti is still recovering from an earthquake in January of 2010 that killed an estimated 200,000 people and injured 300,000 others.