NEWS | Feb. 17, 2010

JTF-Bravo Medical Element personnel return from Haiti

By 1st Lt. Jen Richard Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of Joint Task Force-Bravo's Medical Element returned to Soto Cano AB Feb. 15 and 16, following 28 days of providing medical care in support of Operation Unified Response in Haiti.

The 23 Joint Task Force-Bravo members were part of a larger medical coalition team, including medical personnel from the USS Gunston Hall, the Mexican navy and civil service, the Colombian army, as well as security personnel from the Haitian coast guard.

On their first day in Haiti, more than 500 seriously injured patients had gathered seeking medical care at the Killick Coast Guard Base, where the deployed MEDEL team was stationed. After about a month on the ground, the team had helped to provide medical assistance to nearly 3,000 Haitians in need, in support of Joint Task Force-Haiti's overall disaster relief efforts.

"I am so proud of our MEDEL members and all they did in Haiti," said Army Col. Marie Dominguez, Medical Element commander."We faced many unique challenges in the wake of the earthquake there, and everyone pulled together to get the job done and help people in need."

Joint Task Force-Haiti, established by U.S. Southern Command, has overseen the U.S. military's disaster relief mission in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there Jan. 12. More than 13,000 U.S. military servicemembers are supporting the mission, designated Operation Unified Response. The U.S. military is working with the U.S. Stabilization Mission in Haiti and other local and international relief agencies to support humanitarian assistance efforts.

"Joint Task Force-Bravo is SOUTHCOM's forward-operating task force in Central America, so we were able to be some of the first responders in Haiti," said Army Col. Gregory Reilly, Joint Task Force-Bravo commander. "The deployed MEDEL team represented us extremely well in supporting Joint Task Force-Haiti's disaster relief operation."

Joint Task Force-Bravo's mission is to conduct joint, combined, and interagency operations, and support contingency operations throughout the assigned geographical area in order to enhance theater-wide operational security and reinforce regional cooperation. The Medical Element supports this mission by providing medical assistance throughout the region, and the team is scheduled to hold its next medical clinic in Duyure, Honduras, Feb. 22-23.