FORT KNOX, Ky. - Soldiers from the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) were recognized for their service in Haiti during a ceremony held here on Thursday, April 22 at the Patton Museum.

During the ceremony, the Sustainers were honored for their successful deployment to Haiti in response to the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated much of the island nation.

While in Haiti, the command formed Joint Logistics Command -Haiti and provided its logistics expertise to the relief effort. The Sustainers took part in the largest humanitarian aid and support mission ever, according to 3d ESC commanding general, Brig. Gen. Robin B. Akin.

Akin presented her Soldiers with medals including the Humanitarian Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Joint Service Achievement Medal, depending on the length of time each of them spent in Haiti and their individual contributions to the mission.

"These Soldiers and the 2700 others in the Joint Logistics Command with little time, little equipment, with true grit and determination in a very austere environment made it happen," said Akin. "It made us as Soldiers stronger, and as a team more proud. We led our missions with our heart, as American citizens first, then as Soldiers."

Upon arriving in Haiti, Akin said Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander, U.S. Southern Command, expected the 3d ESC to make "magic" happen and felt the command exceeded expectations.

Akin and Command Sgt. Major Willie C. Tennant, Sr., 3d ESC senior enlisted leader, presented Fort Knox commanding general, Maj. Gen. James Milano and Command Sgt. Major John Troxell, Fort Knox senior enlisted leader, a U.S. flag that was flown over one of the JLC's watercraft deployed from the 7th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Eustis, Va.

Even though the mission was unexpected and admittedly tough for the 3d ESC Soldiers, they were happy to lend a helping hand to the many Haitians who were displaced as a result of the earthquake's damage.

"My blood is their blood because I'm an Islander also," said Spc. Nestor Reyes, a Catano, Puerto Rico native and unit supply specialist with the 3d ESC. "It was heartbreaking to see what happened there and I felt like I was doing the right thing by helping these people."

"I thought I had problems until I saw what Haitians were going through."

The Humanitarian Service Medal was established by President Ford on January 19, 1977. It is awarded to any member of the military of the United States who distinguishes themselves by meritorious direct participation in any significant military act or operation of a humanitarian nature approved by the Department of Defense.

The Joint Service Commendation Medal was established by the Department of Defense on June 25, 1963. It is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces who distinguishes him or herself by meritorious achievement or service while serving in any specified activity after January 1, 1965.

The Joint Service Achievement Medal was established by Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger on August 3, 1983. It is awarded for outstanding achievement or meritorious service in a joint service command or joint service activity.

Story by Sgt. Michael Behlin, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) public affairs.
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