Sailors at Naval Hospital Beaufort deploy to Haiti

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - A group of sailors from Naval Hospital Beaufort are on their way to Haiti.

The seven person team of surgical techs and nurses will be working out of the USNS Comfort, a 900-foot hospital ship, where they will be treating countless quake victims in need of medical attention.

Tens of thousands of Haitians have died over the past week and thousands more still wait for medical attention. That's why a group from Naval Hospital Beaufort packed up their bags with little notice, ready to help in Haiti.

"This is part of why I joined the military to go and help the humanitarian missions," said Lt. Michelle Greedan. "Its a great honor and opportunity."

An opportunity surgical tech, Maria Angel didn't want to miss out on. She's one of many in this group who volunteered to deploy to Haiti and was thrilled when she got the official orders in her hands.

"I"m very excited, this is my first time and I"m very ready to go and participate and take care of some lives," said Angel.

After saying their goodbyes, - this seven person team of surgical techs and nurses will be working out of the USNS Comfort, where they will be treating patients and helping with surgical procedures.

"I'm definitely excited, happy I can go down there and help people do what we do, what we're trained to do," said another surgical tech, Shawn Russo.

HM1 Sonyaa Kitchen has deployed to Haiti before, but knows this time will be much different.

" It was bad over there when I was there before," said HM1 Kitchen. "I thought they needed a lot of help when I was there before but from all of the pictures on the news, its really bad now, they need a lot of help."

She, like the others are proud to do their part.

"I feel good about it, that I'm going to get to do a lot of good work over there," said Kitchen.

As they pack up and leave Beaufort, none of them know what they'll face in Haiti. But they say they're prepared and ready for the hard work ahead.

"This is what I joined for and this is what I was prepared for," said Angel. "This is an opportunity and I"ve seen the devastation there and it hurts and so I"m ready, ready to just help them.".

The medical team is expected to be deployed in Haiti for the next three to six months depending on the need.

There are still about 20 more sailors at Naval Hospital Beaufort that are currently on standby and are waiting to find out if they'll be needed to assist in Haiti.

The USNS arrived in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday.

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