Secretary, chief of staff: Airmen integral to overall relief efforts

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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."