News>Joint Task Force-Bravo members help victims of Guatemala disaster
Guatemalans begin offloading food and water from a Joint Task Force-Bravo UH-60 Blackhawk June 6, 2010, in the community of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Joint Task Force-Bravo's helicopters have transported approximately 53,000 pounds of relief supplies to 14 Guatemalan communities since June 2 to support the Guatemalan government's disaster relief efforts following the Pacaya volcano eruption and Tropical Storm Agatha. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bryan Franks)
An Army 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, aircrew member from Joint Task Force-Bravo prepares to take off June 4, 2010, to deliver food and water to communities affected by Tropical Storm Agatha and the Pacaya volcano. Joint Task Force-Bravo's helicopters and personnel transported nearly 53,000 pounds of relief supplies June 3 through 4 to Guatemalan communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bryan Franks)
Residents of Masagua, Guatemala, offload food and water from a Joint Task Force-Bravo UH-60 Blackhawk June 3, 2010. Joint Task Force-Bravo deployed four helicopters, at the request of the Guatemalan government, to support disaster relief efforts following the Pacaya volcano eruption and Tropical Storm Agatha. Joint Task Force-Bravo's helicopters and personnel transported nearly 53,000 pounds of relief supplies June 3 through 4 to Guatemalan communities in need. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bryan Franks)
by 1st Lt. Jennifer Richard
Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs
6/14/2010 - GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (AFNS) -- Servicemembers from Joint Task Force-Bravo transported 12,800 pounds of relief supplies June 3 to four areas of Guatemala affected by Tropical Storm Agatha and the Pacaya volcano eruption.
The JTF-Bravo team from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, deployed to Guatemala June 1 after receiving orders from U.S. Southern Command to support Guatemala's ongoing disaster relief efforts. As of June 3, servicemembers have transported nearly 53,000 pounds of relief supplies to disaster victims.
Since their arrival in Guatemala, JTF-Bravo members have worked closely with members of the Guatemalan military and CONRED (the Guatemalan equivalent of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency) to bring aid to areas most in need.
"The Guatemalans have been working shoulder-to-shoulder with us," said Army Warrant Officer Ken Roqhuett, 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment pilot. "Although we speak different languages and come from different backgrounds, at the end of the day we're able to come together to plan and execute our missions."
For the members of JTF-Bravo, it is rewarding to work with Guatemalans to execute one of the task force's primary missions: humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
"The most remarkable part so far has been seeing the faces of people when the helicopters first arrived in Guatemala," said Lt. Col. Curtis Anderson, the mission commander. "We're showing Guatemalans that the U.S. military and Joint Task Force-Bravo are committed to helping the people of Central America."
Joint Task Force-Bravo servicemembers respond to natural disasters, such as Tropical Storm Agatha, throughout Central America and beyond. The task force deployed four helicopters and approximately 40 people to assist in Haiti March 21 through May 24, supporting SOUTHCOM's Joint Task Force-Haiti. Joint Task Force-Bravo members also provided critical disaster relief in El Salvador following floods and mudslides there last November, transporting more than 370,000 pounds of relief supplies to communities in need.
The men and women of JTF-Bravo may be experienced in providing humanitarian assistance, but conducting disaster relief operations is nothing to take lightly, said Army Col. Gregory Reilly, the JTF-Bravo commander.
"I feel very proud of how the team is handling the mission," Colonel Reilly said. "However, we can't lose focus on what it's all about -- helping the people of Guatemala. That is what we're here for."