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Personnel from the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan move a Haitian earthquake victim from a helicopter to medical facilities, Jan. 20, 2010. The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked aboard the ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group off 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.

Photo by Cpl. Bobbie A. Curtis

22nd MEU, Bataan Amphibious Ready Group aid Haitian disaster victims

21 Jan 2010 | Cpl. Bobbie A. Curtis

The ships intercom filled with the sound of a stern voice urgently calling "mass casualty, mass casualty!" calling all available Marines and Sailors on the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan to the flight deck to assist with incoming Haitian earthquake victims.

Medical personnel from across the ship immediately started running through the passageways, brining with them supplies and helping hands as other Marines and Sailors cleared the way for them to rush to the scene.

Approximately 20 victims from the Quest region of Haiti were flown from the area surrounding the nation's devastated capitol, Port-Au-Prince, to the USS Bataan, Jan. 20. There, Marines and Sailors from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and Bataan Amphibious Ready Group administered first aid and life saving medical care to the injured, dehydrated and famished victims.

Lt. Joseph Nellis, the senior medical officer with the 22nd MEU, explained that the success of the medical emergency relied on medical personnel from both the Navy and Marine Corps.

"This was a blue-green combined evolution," Nellis said. "People quickly organized themselves into treatment teams which did aid in expediting the care that the patients received."

He stated that the hospital corpsmen and medical doctors from the 22nd MEU were augmented with the staff from ships medical personnel and other naval medical units to create a team with enough man-power to handle the influx of patients.

"We had enough [personnel] to stay with a patient the entire time," he explained.

The 22nd MEU worked heavily with the USS Bataan's medical department during combined training exercises during late 2008, which was followed by a seven-month deployment to the European and Central command areas of operation. Nellis said that this training added to the success of the day's casualty assistance.

"The ship was very prepared ... they are ready for a mass casualty in a matter of minutes quit honestly," he said. "We knew the process and we knew the patient flow ... which I think assisted the medical department of the Bataan in having a successful mass casualty scenario today."
Linguists attached to the 22nd MEU helped medical personnel during the medical evacuation by asking patients information on their injuries and by comforting them while they were being treated.

The 22nd MEU deployed from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 16 and arrived off the coast of Haiti, Jan. 18. Since then, 22nd MEU personnel have continuously air lifted supplies to areas around Port-Au-Prince.

With approximately 11,000 United Nations and U.S. troops in Haiti and the surrounding waters, the recovery and humanitarian assistance effort is well under way.

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked aboard the ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group off the island of Haiti to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the wake of a devastating earthquake that struck the country Jan. 12. 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.
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22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit