GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — Two U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook and two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, Joint Task Force-Bravo, based out of Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, arrived at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in support of disaster relief operations for Haiti, August 16.
At the request of U.S. Southern Command, service members assigned to the Task Force deployed to support relief efforts for the people of Haiti after the nation was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake August 14.
“We are strategically positioned to provide unique capabilities in support of humanitarian efforts,” said U.S. Army Col. Steven Gventer, JTF-Bravo commander. “We will help our Haitian friends through this. Our partnership with Haiti is vital to the security and prosperity of the region.”
The aviation assets will provide heavy and medium lift support to U.S. Agency for International Development, Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance operations, and provide transportation for critical personnel and supplies to alleviate human suffering and bolster Haitian disaster response capabilities.
“Our skilled aircrew are capable of providing life-saving support,” said Gventer. “We bring unique capabilities to help save lives during tragic and evolving humanitarian disasters.”
JTF-Bravo will establish a forward operations center and has deployed approximately 120 personnel to sustain relief efforts.
The team has flown more than 6,000 nautical miles in 59 hours to conduct refueling at Roatan, Honduras, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Montego Bay, Jamaica and to deploy all assets to the forward operating location at Guantanamo.
JTF-Bravo will work in conjunction with a SOUTHCOM Situation Assessment Team from Special Operations Command South in Haiti, working with U.S. government diplomatic and disaster-assistance personnel assessing the situation in areas impacted by the earthquake, and will arrive in Haiti August 18 to provide additional lifesaving support.