MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Cherry Point’s Naval Health Clinic sent five of its personnel to assist with humanitarian aid operations in Haiti. Haiti suffered a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12. Since then, an international aid effort has started offering medical attention to the countless victims of the disaster.
Nurse anesthetist Cmdr. Tanya M. Ponder, perioperative nurse, Lt. James L. Smith, supply clerk and surgical technicians Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Reid and Petty Officer 3rd Class Ciji R. Warren, joined other international aid organizations and military personnel from all over the world by offering medical attention to those afflicted by the earthquake.
“Events like the disaster in Haiti give our guys a chance to do what they’re trained to do outside of a war environment,” said Lt. j.g. Sherri L. Long, personnel officer at the Naval Health Clinic.
The group could stay in the country between 30 days and eight months helping victims, said Long. Two Sailors will be at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, helping with casualties being evacuated from Haiti. Three Sailors will work aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort, caring for patients from the earthquake-striken nation.
“Each of these individuals volunteered for this aid effort,” Long said. “Everyone here at the clinic was jumping at the chance to go. The idea of helping really raises morale. I think they all would have gone if given the opportunity.”
Along with the Sailors from the Naval Health Clinic, several Cherry Point squadrons are on their way to lend a hand to Haiti’s residents.
“We’ve sent 17 Marines to support the 22nd MEU, but we have the capabilities to send many more if needed,” said Maj. Robert F. Mason, MWSG-27’s operations officer. “The group consists of Marines from food services, bulk fuels and four Marines who speak the French-Creole language to serve as interpreters.
In addition, Marine Air Control Group 28 and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 have sent assets as well. Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 252 has also sent more Marines and supplies to support the 22nd and 24th MEUs and the Haiti disaster relief, said Capt. Kevin Shiels, operations officer for the squadron.