ABOARD USS BATAAN --
The 22nd Marine Expiditionary Unit launched its first wave of Marines and sailors today, in the first attempt to secure a landing zone and bring supplies and aid to the distressed people in Haiti.
According to Lt. Col. Rob Fulford, commanding officer, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, the first wave of Marines conducted a helicopter landing into the town of Leogane, near Haiti’s devastated capital Port-au-Prince.
“The intention of this force is to rapidly build a landing zone that relief supplies can go into,” he explained.
He also said the Marines will link up with United Nation relief forces already on the ground, and will later be reinforced by the 22nd MEU’s logistics element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22, later in the evening.
Reports from aid workers on the island say, Jan. 19, 2010 the situation in Haiti is worsening and violence around Port-au-Prince is slowing distribution of aid to the devastated country.
Estimates from the European Commission, say approximately 200,000 have died during the catastrophe.
Fulford explained that once the Marines landed in Leogane, they immediately began sending information back to the 22nd MEU headquarters; in order to aid detailed planning that will increase the amount of aid flowing into the country.
The 22nd MEU is embarked aboard the ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group near the island of Haiti to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the wake of a devastating earthquake that struck the country Jan. 12, 2010. The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its command element.