Operation Unified Response
Operation Unified Response was the United States military's response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. It was conducted by Joint Task Force Haiti and commanded by United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Military Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Ken Keen, although the overall U.S. government response was headed by Rajiv Shah, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The response included personnel from all branches of the military. The U.S. Navy listed its resources in the area on 19 January as "17 ships, 48 helicopters and 12 fixed-wing aircraft" in addition to 10,000 sailors and Marines. By 26 January, the U.S. military had 17,000 personnel in and around Haiti. Between the beginning of refief efforts and 18 February the US Air Force had delivered nearly 6,000 support members and 19 million pounds of cargo while evacuating 15,000 American citizens and conducted aeromedical evacuations for 223 critical Haitian patients.
Elements of the mission included flying in relief supplies, flying out evacuees, including medical evacuees, loading helicopters with supplies at the PAP airport, and then dropping supplies at various points around Port-au-Prince, airdropping supplies from fixed-wing aircraft, establishing a field hospital near the Port international de Port-au-Prince, repairing a pier at the port, providing imagery from satellite, Global Hawk, and U-2 assets.
- The United States Coast Guard cutters USCGC Forward (WMEC-911) and USCGC Mohawk (WMEC-913), both arrived in Port-au-Prince, on 13 January. A Maritime Intelligence Support Team aboard the Forward assessed damage to the port. The cutters were supported by the destroyer USS Higgins (DDG-76). Two United States Air Force special operations MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft also arrived 13 January with emergency supplies, medical units and special tactics teams. Other Coast Guard ships including the USCGC Valiant (WMEC-621) and the USCGC Tahoma (WMEC-908) were dispatched.
- As of 14 January, United States Air Force Special Operations personnel were controlling operations of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, after having cleared runways and having set up a 24-hour air traffic control.
- On 15 January, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) arrived off the coast of Port-au-Prince to provide humanitarian aid, with its trained personnel, emergency supplies and 19 helicopters on deck.
- The United States Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) with 1,000 beds and 956 naval hospital staff was deployed to Haiti, as were the guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG-36), and the guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60).
- Approximately 2,000 United States Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune sailed on the USS Bataan (LHD-5), USS Carter Hall (LSD-50), and USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43); while 3,000 United States Army soldiers of the XVIII Airborne Corps HQ and the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg were sent 14 January.
- On 17 January, the USCGC Oak (WLB-211) and the USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51) arrived at Port-au-Prince to begin repairs to the wharves.
- Additional Marines from the 24th MEU on the USS Nassau (LHA-4), USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19), and USS Ashland (LSD-48), which sailed from Naval Station Norfolk on the 18th, were diverted on the 20th from their scheduled deployment to the Middle East. This was the first use of the V-22 Osprey for a humanitarian mission.
- Four injured personnel from the United States embassy were evacuated to the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by United States Coast Guard helicopters.
- As of 21 January, approximately 10,500 people have been evacuated from Haiti to the US, including 8,300 US citizens. Approximately 45,000 American citizens were thought to have been in Haiti at the time of the earthquake.
On this date the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron (ATCS) in collaboration with the 248th and 258th ATCS took over air traffic control operations effectively increasing the arrival of aid and supplies over 200%
- On 1 February, the Carl Vinson, Bunker Hill, and USNS Henson (T-AGS-63) ended their mission departed Haiti.
- On 3 February, the Higgins ended its relief mission and has headed for its home port.
- On 8 February, the 24th MEU and Nassau amphibious ready group were ordered to resume their original deployment to the Middle East.
- On 12 February, the US relief force has been reduced from roughly 20,000 troops to roughly 13,000 troops.
- On 13 February, the Gundston Hall ended its relief mission and has headed back to its original mission.
- On 14 February, the 190th Civil Engineering Squadron of the Kansas Air National Guard returned home.
- On 18 February, the Oak has left Haiti and arrived back at home port.
- On 1 March, Carter Hall was ordered home.
Elements of the public of France expressed dissatisfaction with both the much larger size of the American relief operations compared to those of European nations and the commanding role U.S. forces took on the ground. Reflecting these feelings the French Minister for the Francophonie, Alain Joyandet, characterized the United States as "occupying" Haiti, citing the take over of air traffic control in the country.
In a statement the Italian government moved to distance itself from the Italian Civil Protection head, Guido Bertolaso, who asserted that the U.S. effort was badly lead and managed, lacking a "rapport" with aid organizations and local people.
Several Latin American leaders accused the United States of militarily occupying Haiti. These socialist leaders, all long-time critics of the United States, included Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez former Cuban President Fidel Castro, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Through its Department of State the United States rejected the allegations and pointed to the fact that US forces were there by the invitation of the Haitian government. Despite this United States Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) opposed House of Representatives Resolution 1021, citing concerns over "the possibility of an open-ended US military occupation of Haiti".
Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Antonio D. Travis was named one of the top 100 most influential people of 2010 by TIME Magazine for his role in Operation Unified Response. Chief Travis is a combat controller who deployed to Port-au-Prince just 30 hours after the earthquake. His team set up a card table to conduct air traffic control operations for Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport, and was recognized for orchestrating the largest single-runway operation in history. The combat control team ran the airport for 12 days before US Air Force air traffic controllers took over. During those 12 days the team oversaw more than 4,000 takeoffs and landings, an average of one every five minutes. Their efforts are credited for ensuring the safe delivery many humanitarian relief teams from around the world and thousands of tons of life saving supplies.
- Operation Hestia, the Canadian military's counterpart
- Opération Séisme Haiti 2010, the French military's counterpart
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Operation Unified Response.|
- Air Mobility Command Public Affairs (17 January 2010). "AMC Airmen critical to Operation Unified Response assisting Haiti earthquake victims". U.S. Air Force. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
- "Joint Task Force-Haiti launched". KBH News.com. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
- Melia, Mike; Paul Haven (21 January 2010). "U.S. presence grows as aid trickles into Haiti". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
- U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs (12 January 2010). "U.S. Fleet Forces Commander Provides Update on Navy Contributions to Haiti Relief Efforts". Navy.mil. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
- Numbers tell stories of horror, heroism in Haiti, CNN, 26 January 2010
- Stock, Jon (18 February 2010). "AMC Total Force provides hope to Haiti". Air Mobility Command Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
- US Coast Guard press release, 13 January 2010, http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/786/452059/
- "First U.S. vessel arrives at Port-au-Prince". MSNBC. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
- US Air Force press release, 13 January 2010, http://archive.is/20120728115515/http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123185581
- "Coast Guard sends cutters, aircraft to Haiti – Navy News, news from Iraq". Navy Times. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- Fox 10, WALA TV/Associated Press, Mobile, AL, 14 Jan, http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/news/international/dozens-of-cargo-planes-arrive-in-haiti-
- US Navy, press release, 15 January 2010, http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=50545
- Reilly, Corinne. "Local military providing aid in Haiti | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com". HamptonRoads.com. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- "Southcom sending experts, equipment to Haiti – Florida AP". MiamiHerald.com. Retrieved 13 January 2010.[dead link]
- ""FACTBOX-U.S. military mobilizes thousands for Haiti relief" Reuters. 14 Jan 2010 21:20:24 GMT". Alertnet.org. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- Faram, Mark D. (19 January 2010). "Bataan ARG to begin arriving in Haiti today". Navy Times. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
- "How the U.S. Military Will Help Haiti". Time. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/us-joins-international-aid-mobilization-for-haiti-quake-victims/1065311. Missing or empty
- Fuentes, Gidget (16 January 2010). "Bunker Hill en route to help Haiti mission". Navy Times. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
- "Navy in Hampton Roads answers call to duty in Haiti". WVEC. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
- Talton, Trista (20 January 2010). "24th MEU joining Haiti relief effort". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
- Ewing, Philip (20 January 2010). "Nassau ARG, 24th MEU, tapped for Haiti". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
- "U.S. plans massive military response for Haiti". Associated Press. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100113/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_haiti_earthquake. Retrieved 13 January 2010. Missing or empty
- "21-Jan-2010 Update". CNN. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
- Hampton Roads, "The Carl Vinson departs Haiti", Lauren King, 1 February 2010 (accessed 2 February 2010)
- SignOn San Diego, "Navy destroyer to return after helping out in Haiti", Jeanette Steele, 3 February 2010 (accessed 3 February 2010)
- Lamothe, Dan (8 February 2010). "24th MEU, Nassau ARG complete Haiti work". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- Agence France Presse, "US reduces troop numbers in Haiti", AFP, 13 February 2010 (accessed 18 February 2010)
- WVEC, "Little Creek-based USS Gunston Hall completes Haiti duty", US Navy, 15 February 2010 (accessed 16 February 2010)
- FOX 4 KC, "Kansas National Guard Returns From Haiti", Dave Dunn, 14 February 2010 (accessed 18 February 2010)
- The State, "SC-based cutter returns after helping in Haiti", Associated Press, 18 February 2010 (accessed 23 February 2010)
- Navy Times, "Navy’s Haiti duties winding down", Philip Ewing, 8 March 2010 (accessed 8 March 2010)
- Associated Press, "US hospital ship Comfort leaving Haiti", AP, 10 March 2010 (accessed 13 March 2010)
- "Bataan, 22nd MEU headed home from Haiti". Marine Corps Times. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- Press TV, "US military evacuates 2,200 troops from Haiti", AGB/MB, 25 March 2010 (accessed 27 March 2010)
- CyberPresse.ca, "L'ONU défend l'engagement militaire du Canada en Haïti", Agence France-Presse, 2 February 2010 (accessed 3 February 2010) (French)
- Metropole Haiti, "Haiti : Les troupes Américaines se retireront", Radio Métropole Haïti, 2 February 2010 (accessed 3 February 2010) (French)
- (French) Le Figaro, "Haïti : le mariage forcé franco-américain", Alain Barluet, 22 January 2010 (accessed 30 January 2010)
- Digital Journal, "French minister accuses U.S. of 'occupying ' Haiti", Michael Krebs, 19 January 2010 (accessed 4 February 2010)
- Daily Mail (London), "U.S. criticised over Haiti relief effort as Italian disaster expert brands it 'badly managed'", David Williams, 26 January 2010 (accessed 4 February 2010)
- "Hugo Chavez Mouthpiece Says U.S. Hit Haiti With 'Earthquake Weapon'". Fox News. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- "Chavez says U.S. occupying Haiti in name of aid". Reuters. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- "Castro decries US, others sending troops to Haiti". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 January 2010.[dead link]
- "Castro slams US 'occupation' of Haiti". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- "Venezuela to U.S.: Send Haiti vaccines, not troops". Reuters. 24 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- "Snapshots From A Devastated Land". Retrieved 26 January 2010.[dead link]
- "US rejects Latin American claim it is 'occupying' Haiti". Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- Text of USHOR Resolution 1021
- "No Military Occupation of Haiti". Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- Small, David (29 April 2010). "TIME magazine recognizes Airman in top 100". US Air Force Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Davis III, Bernie (5 May 2010). "TIME magazine honors Airman at New York City gala". US Air Force Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- McFadden, Joe (11 May 2010). "One more hooah left in me". US Air Force Public Affairs. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Sullenberger, Chesley (29 April 2010). "Chief Master Sergeant Tony Travis". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 28 June 2010.