JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) personnel are working around the clock to support the Navy's humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operation for survivors of the massive earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12.
As Navy ships and personnel arrive in Haiti, with more on the way, NAS Jax military and civilian employees are refueling aircraft, off-loading trucks, building pallets for food, water and medical supplies and loading them onto the numerous Navy transport planes that have been arriving here from all over the country.
Also, hundreds of trucks supporting U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Combat Task Force 43 have been arriving at NAS Jax loading docks with thousands of pounds of material to be transported to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – and ultimately to Haiti.
"The Navy is swiftly mobilizing all available resources to assist interagency and multinational efforts in relieving human suffering in Haiti," said NAS Jax Commanding Officer Capt. Jack Scorby Jr. "NAS Jax Sailors and civilians are working tirelessly to ensure the Navy's significant humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts run smoothly."
As an advanced logistics staging base for the relief efforts, NAS Jax plays a pivotal role in relief operations becoming the "distribution hub" for relief materials headed to the Caribbean..
"We were told January 14 to pack up because we were going to go down to support USS Carl Vinson – or as needed, from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – to help the survivors in Haiti," said Lt. j.g. James Sabin, maintenance officer for Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 Detachment 4, who arrived in one of the squadron's C-2A Greyhound logistics aircraft.
"We packed everything and 24 hours later, we arrived at NAS Jax. We have 22 personnel on our plane and another Greyhound coming behind us with 24 personnel. We'll do whatever we can to help," said Sabin.
The C-2A was quickly refueled, loaded with relief supplies and departed en route to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay two hours later.
"The devastation is just beyond comprehension," said U.S. 4th Fleet Operations Officer Capt. Gregory Parker while awaiting air transport at the NAS Jax terminal.
"It's always a challenge getting support to devastated areas, but the Navy's role has always been as a first responder for humanitarian relief. We're transporting supplies down to Guantanamo Bay. From there, they will be taken to USS Carl Vinson and then heloed into Haiti. I think you will see a huge impact from the Navy, beginning immediately."
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