U.S. military mobilizes thousands for Haiti relief

January 14, 2010

The U.S. military is mobilizing thousands of soldiers, sailors and Marines for relief efforts in Haiti. Here are the main military components announced so far:

* The vast majority of the forces announced for Haiti have not yet arrived but the military has flown in hundreds of rescuers and has advance teams and assessment teams on the ground. The Coast Guard has deployed four ships as well as air support for evacuation efforts. The Navy destroyer USS Higgins, with about 320 sailors on board, arrived on Thursday.

* Up to 3,500 soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg will be deployed in Haiti by Sunday. An advance group of about 125 troops will arrive on Thursday and 800 more will arrive on Friday.

* Another 2,200 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lejeune, N.C., may arrive this weekend or at the latest by Monday for what initially is expected to be about a 90-day deployment.

* An amphibious readiness group with three ships — the USS Bataan, the USS Fort McHenry and USS Carter Hall — will take the Marines to Haiti. This group can produce its own purified water.

* A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, with a crew of between 4,000-5,000 sailors on board, is on the way and will arrive in the area by Friday, with 19 helicopters on board. It has three operating rooms, several dozen hospital beds and can produce fresh water

* But the much-anticipated hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, will not arrive until around Jan 22 with its 12 operating rooms and 250 hospital beds. The Pentagon says the Comfort is a slow-moving vessel and will need a week to arrive in Haiti.

* Two additional ships, the USS Underwood and the USS Normandy, are also headed to Haiti.

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