Tyndall Airmen deploy to support Haitian relief efforts

  • Published
Liaison officers with the Joint Personnel Recovery Center and the 601st Air and Space Operations Center here deployed from here Jan. 14 to assist with humanitarian aid efforts following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti Jan. 12.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chris Arnett, a JPRC liaison officer, is expected to arrive at Coast Guard District Seven Rescue Coordination Center in Miami Jan. 14. 

Maj. Dave Smith, an air mobility specialist, will be assigned to the 612th AOC at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. He will serve as one of U.S. Southern Command's Regional Air Movement Control Center liaison officers, a position that entails processing airlift requests, scheduling aircraft, and providing command and control for air traffic control agencies and commanders on the ground in the affected area.

"The relationship between the Coast Guard RCC and the JPRC is built on close coordination and our common desire to provide the best search and rescue capabilities to those in distress," Commander Arnett said. "My job in Miami will be to provide any support we can to the citizens of Haiti who have been struck by this terrible tragedy."

SOUTHCOM officials are closely monitoring the situation and are working with officials from the U.S. State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and other national and international agencies to determine how to best respond to this crisis.

"We're ready to help SOUTHCOM and the Coast Guard with our search and rescue expertise," said Lt. Col. Charles Tomko, the JPRC director. "One of our main missions is responding to catastrophic search and rescue operations, and our liaison officers are highly trained and well qualified to assist with the humanitarian outreach that the Haitian people so desperately need right now."

The JPRC, established and operated by Air Forces Northern and under the command of U.S. Northern Command, plans, coordinates, and monitors personnel recovery and catastrophic search and rescue missions, and integrates NORTHCOM's activities with other operations and activities in the NORTHCOM area of responsibility. Collocated with the JPRC is the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, which serves as the single agency responsible for coordinating on-land federal SAR activities in the 48 contiguous United States, Mexico and Canada. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the center directly ties in to the Federal Aviation Administration's alerting system and the U.S. Mission Control Center.