NEWS | Sept. 17, 2021

Haitian-born Black Hawk pilot supports JTF-Haiti earthquake relief efforts

By Capt. Annabel Monroe Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs Office

U.S. Army Capt. Alix Idrache, a pilot and future operations planner with the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B), based out of Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, mobilized in support of Joint Task Force-Haiti (JTF-Haiti) to deliver much-needed aid as rapidly as possible to victims of the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, Aug. 15-Sept. 9. 

Idrache, who was born in Haiti, and was a key player in ongoing relief operations, supporting medical evacuation missions, as well as, assisting in interpreting French and creole to facilitate coordination.

“I immigrated to the U.S. in 2009,” said Idrache. “I knew I wanted to join the U.S. Army, so I enlisted and later applied to one university - the United States Military Academy West Point.”

Upon graduating from West Point with a degree in physics, Idrache competed for pilot training and was selected for the U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. His unit, the 1-228th Aviation Regiment, was called to support JTF-Haiti relief operations. 

In support of the whole-of-government effort led by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, JTF-B and Idrache joined forces with JTF-Haiti to deliver much-needed aid as rapidly as possible. He spent the first few days of operations in the air traffic control tower.

“The airfield was incredibly busy, we had aircraft from the U.S. Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, a lot going on here at the airfield. Alix being able to speak the language and being from here was really important in establishing good relationships and establishing an understanding with our Haitian partners who work at the airport,” said U.S. Army Col. Steven Gventer, commander of JTF-Band deputy commanding officer of JTF-Haiti. “His work ensured the safety of our missions and enabled the most expeditious way for us to get aid from the airfield out to the people who needed it.”

In support of JTF-Haiti, JTF-B delivered a total of 340,740 pounds of aid that included food, shelters, blankets, tents, tarps, water purifiers, generators and an entire mobile medical hospital to communities in need.

“It’s a lot to process, I am one of these people too,” said Idrache. “It feels great to be in a position where you can make a difference. We are helping those in need, building relationships here and there is hope in the conversations I’m having. Haitian people are such strong and beautiful people.”

In total, JTF-Haiti completed a total of 671 missions, transported 587,950 pounds of relief supplies and equipment, and assisted or rescued 477 people. 

“Alix has been invaluable to us,” said Gventer. “He’s flown medical evacuation missions, he’s helped save people's lives in Haiti. He’s a great pilot, an amazing person, an all-American, an all Haitian-American, he is hope for the people of Haiti.”