Help for Haiti: 3rd ID responds

By Dal Cannady - bio | email

PORT AU PRINCE (WTOC) - U.S. troops hit the ground running just a little over a week after the devastating earthquake in Haiti and last Saturday I left Savannah with a few hours notice to document the 10th Transportation Company's staggering mission of helping to rescue a nation. See Third ID soldiers help in Haiti.

Once on the ground, they hoped to deliver food and water, help the wounded and vowed to do any other mission they could to help.

The devastation was almost impossible to grasp, even for troops who've seen combat.

"Far worse than what I've seen in Iraq," said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Thomas. "They were already living in a bad situation and the earthquake just made it worse."

The men and women with the 10th Transportation Company went with no sleep to the tent hospital at the Port Au Prince airport. They saw despair in every face.

"I have a 5-year-old so it touched my heart," said Sgt. Tyrone Leak. "Some of these kids have lost parents, lost family."

Beyond the airport's gates and armed guards, people like Jean Bernard Deceious look for food, water, home and hope. "Where are you staying right now?" I asked him.

"I'm staying in the street, my yard under a tree is where I sleep with my family," he told me.

The troops were already familiar with tough conditions and challenges. They returned just six months ago from yet another deployment to Iraq.

"This is a different side of the Army than some soldiers have seen before," Cpt. Stephen Lambe said. "They've known Iraq and Afghanistan. We deploy over there and it is a combat situation. This is different."

This time, they don't face any army or force on the battlefield.

"Our presence here is going to aid and assist them to build their country back and put food in their bellies and clothes on their backs," said 1st Lt. Sitara Johnson. "It feels wonderful."

The troops are charging forward to share what they have, including hope.

The 10th Transportation Company could only bring a few trucks with them on the flight. The rest of the trucks were loaded onto ships, but the port of Port Au Prince is one of the most crucial disaster scenes.

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