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US Military Makes First Visit to Hinche

January 28, 2010

Marine Corps News|by Capt. Robert Shuford

Small teams of 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines landed in northern Haiti Jan. 24 to survey damage and meet with locals to assess the current situation in population centers that had not been evaluated for earthquake damage since relief efforts began last week.

The teams traveled to Haiti from USS Nassau using MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, marking the first time an Osprey participated in a Humanitarian Relief operation. The Marines visited the towns of Hinche, Mirebalais and Belladere, while a fourth team which included Col. Pete Petronzio, commanding officer, 24th MEU and Capt. John Bruening, commanding officer, Nassau Amphibious Readiness Group, surveyed St. Marc after arriving in a Navy Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat.

Marines met with the local populace, Non-Government aid Organizations, and U.N. personnel to determine the status of medical facilities, law enforcement, overall damage caused by the earthquake and gain awareness for what assistance, if any, these areas required.

Though these areas had minimal damage from the earthquake, Marines did encounter hospitals that were at capacity and in need of medical supplies.

Hinche, in particular could use some assistance as they are beginning to see an influx of displaced people arriving from parts of the country that as more affected by the earthquake, said the Hinche assessment team leader Maj. Jon B. Hamilton, operations officer, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 24th MEU.

Osprey Helicopter which landed in Hinche

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