New Horizons - Haiti 2010 exercise begins
June 22, 2010
(MANDRIN, Haiti) July 17, 2010 - New Horizons-Haiti 2010 exercise kicked off this past Tuesday with its opening ceremonies held at the Task Force Kout Men encampment..
A little over five months ago, following the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti on Jan. 12, Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard, stepped up to fulfill a request from U.S. Southern Command and the National Guard Bureau to support the concept of a New Horizons mission to Haiti.
New Horizons is a humanitarian and civic assistance operation focused on providing medical and engineering support to the people of Haiti. New Horizons will provide tangible humanitarian engineer and medical assistance to the people of Haiti and support long term United States recovery operations in Haiti while supporting the readiness of U.S. Forces.
The Louisiana Guard was tasked to begin preparations for the New Horizons-Haiti 2010 humanitarian endeavor in April. Given their mission, similarities to the Creole culture in Haiti, and the helping hand they received following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Louisiana Guardsmen chose to name their new task force 'Kout Men," Creole for "helping hands." The 500-strong task force is also comprised of the helping hands of Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, North and South Dakota, Texas and U.S. Virgin Islands Guardsmen and supported by U.S. Navy, Air Force and Army personnel.
"The New Horizons mission shows the commitment between the United States and the people of Haiti," said Mr. David Lindwall, U.S. Embassy's deputy chief of mission in Haiti.
Between now and the end of September, New Horizons will build four schools with a restroom and improve existing water wells at Lycee Louis Diaquoi, Ecole Nationale Desronvilles, Ecole Nationale de Mandarin. These construction projects will be completed by the Louisiana National Guard and U.S. Navy Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25, out of Fort McCoy, Wis.
"I would like to thank the U.S. service members for coming to help the people of Haiti," said Dr. Gabriel Timonthe, the director general of the Haiti Ministry of Public Health.
In addition to providing humanitarian assistance, New Horizons also provides valuable experiences to learn in a real-world environment for our U.S. Forces. This experience helps ensure that the U.S. military is able to rapidly respond in support of emergency relief efforts.
"New Horizons-Haiti 2010 is one more step forward in partnering with the people of Haiti to improve the education of their children and providing much needed medical care to the people of the Artibonite Department, but most importantly, aiding its citizens in a return to normal life," said Col. Michael Borrel, commander of Task Force Kout Men.