Friday, January 15, 2010

Coast Guard EC off to Haiti

Coast Guard officers from Elizabeth City were among nearly 30 first responders to fly to Haiti Thursday to help those affected by Tuesday’s devastating earthquake.

Among them, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Kappessar and Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Smith secured first responder gear aboard a C-130 fixed-wing aircraft from Air Station Elizabeth City at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida.

The aircraft took nearly 30 first responders to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Thursday.

Also, Lt. Steve Talick, co-pilot of a C-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Elizabeth City, departed Thursday for Port-au-Prince, fully loaded with first responders and equipment.

The Homeland Security Task Force-Southeast was activated in the Coast Guard’s 7th District, based in Miami, and is responsible for supporting U.S. Agency for International Development relief efforts in Haiti, under the direction of Rear Adm. Robert Branham.

The Coast Guard reported Thursday that C-130s and HH-60 helicopters evacuated 142 citizens from Haiti to the Dominican Republic, and med-evaced seven U.S. citizens to Florida. About 50 more U.S. citizens were scheduled to depart Haiti aboard Coast Guard aircraft Thursday.

Coast Guard cutters Tahoma and Valiant arrived in Haitian waters Thursday, loaded with relief supplies for earthquake supplies.

On Wednesday, the day after the quake, the Coast Guard medevaced and evacuated 109 U.S. citizens.

In addition, the Coast Guard transported a Disaster Assistance Response Team to Port-au-Prince, and a Coast Guard C-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft that provided first-light aerial assessments.

Among the Coast Guard assets that continue providing support to Haiti are:

• The Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Miami, Fla.

• The Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.

• The Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, N.H.

• The Coast Guard Cutter Forward, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

• U.S. Coast Guard C-130, HU-25 and C-144 fixed-wing aircraft and HH-60 and HH-65 helicopters from throughout the Coast Guard are deployed throughout the Caribbean region in support of the USAID relief efforts.