News>Secretary, chief of staff: Airmen integral to overall relief efforts
Air transportation specialists with the 437th Aerial Port Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., work together Jan. 18, 2010, to load a pallet of food onto a C-17 Globemaster III from McChord AFB, Wash. The pallet of food is part of a 116,000-pound shipment of food and water to aid victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Daniel Bowles)
A C-17 Globemaster III from McChord Air Force Base, Wash., awaits engine startup Jan. 18, 2010, on the flightline at Charleston AFB, S,C. Charleston AFB has become a major distribution hub for food and water being airlifted to Haiti. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Daniel Bowles)
1/18/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Since the startup of relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti, active-duty, Air Guard and Reserve Airmen have been working around the clock to support aid missions to get people and supplies to the stricken island nation.
Both the secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force chief of staff are closely monitoring the humanitarian efforts being undertaken by the men and women of the U.S. Air Force.
"Airmen are supporting U.S Southern Command efforts in Haiti as part of the Department of Defense team, in conjunction with other U.S. government agencies and the international community, to help provide critical aid and comfort to hundreds of thousands of Haitians at a time of great need," said Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley.
"Whether helping to ensure planes carrying much-needed supplies and personnel get into Port-au-Prince around-the clock, repatriating U.S. citizens out of Haiti, or assisting with desperately needed medical care, the contributions made by the men and women of the Air Force supporting USSOUTHCOM have been integral to overall relief efforts," he said.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz offered encouragement to the Haitians as relief efforts continue.
"We send our sincere condolences to the citizens of Haiti," General Schwartz said. "The widespread devastation and loss of so many of our neighbors is daunting, but the Haitian people are exceptionally resilient and the outpouring of support from around the globe has been nothing short of dramatic. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the president and the Department of Defense in our nation's resolve to provide assistance.
"I am extremely proud of the efforts of our Airmen, who were able to respond so quickly," he said. "Our special operators and contingency response group personnel were able to put their skills to immediate use in helping the Haitians manage airfield operations in Port-au-Prince, enabling the flow of much needed aid. Our airlifters were able to rapidly deliver personnel and supplies. And our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets provided a critical first look for damage assessment. Twelfth Air Force and 1st Air Force are providing essential command and control expertise.
"The Air Force," the general concluded, "along with our joint teammates, USSOUTHCOM, and other U.S. government agencies, will continue to do everything possible to assist in this massive disaster-response effort."
1/21/2010 11:53:29 AM ET I understand the frustration of wanting to help in some way and not being picked to go... Francius and Jerry both of you need to understand that doing your job to support your unit is the best thing you can do right now to help in Haiti. We can't always see the big picture that our chain of command has access to. If your services are needed your bosses will let you know. You need to talk to your supervisors if you have an issue and not use a public forum to gripe about your feelings. Also we don't always get thanked for our work or get awards - if the only reason you are working is for recognition then maybe the AF isn't for you. You are getting paid to do your job - You may want to be sure you are doing your job better than everyone else and with a positive attitude - maybe then you will get some of the recognition you think you so richly deserve. One thing we can all do is support the mission to the best of our abilities by doing our jobs. Another thing is to pray for the people
Chanon, Knoxville TN
1/21/2010 10:01:45 AM ET I am really not happy to the fact that I am from Haiti and I feel like what a better way to help people who are truly in need. After all, I am getting paid for speaking the language plus having the background. Guess what? I am still sitting here at Patrick AFB. Ain't that something.
Francius, Patrick AFB
1/21/2010 1:24:00 AM ET No offense to anyone but I was pissed off that I didn't get a chance or offered a chancevolunteer to go. I join the military for 2 reasons: to kill enemies or help people. What I'm doing now isn't relevant on anything I want to do. People who get a chance to travel to help the people in need were bassically voluntold without a choice or saying. I was I had a chance to help out and was angry by not having a chance to do so. At least if I go I feel like I acccomplished something on Earth and will get thanks for many people about it. What I'm doing now....no one really notices how long and hard we work to prevent an attack. No 'thank you' or awards for doing our job. Only when an incident occurs and if we just happen to be on duty at the time that we will recieve any attention