"Return To Normalcy" Is The Goal
The Air Force is working with U.S. Southern Command and the
Haitian government to determine what's needed to bring damaged
airports up to par to accept more humanitarian relief supplies,
officials said Friday.
A massive U.S.-international relief effort is under way to help
Haitians stricken by a Jan. 12 earthquake that damaged much of the
country's capital of Port-au-Prince. "The Air Force is part of the
joint and international support [effort] to help stop the suffering
of the Haitians and to try to restore the infrastructure so they
can essentially return to normalcy," said Air Force Col. Steve
Shea, director of the combat support center within the Air Force
Office of Logistics Readiness, during a "DoDLive" bloggers
The major supply route into Haiti right now is at the
Port-au-Prince airport, the country's largest, Shea said, and the
Air Force already has deployed airport security personnel, air
traffic controllers and ground operations technicians to
Port-au-Prince. The use of aluminum ground matting, he said, is an
option being considered to increase ramp and runway capacity at
Port-au-Prince and other Haitian airports.
Additionally, Shea said, a U.S. joint assessment team is
evaluating ways to increase the Haitian capital's seaport capacity,
which also was damaged by the earthquake.
"Clearly the ability to use a seaport enables both the
international community and the Department of Defense to move [a]
large tonnage of supplies that will be needed there at a capacity
that exceeds what we could do by air lift," he explained.
The Air Force has a team of logistics and transportation experts
focused on the Haiti relief mission, said Air Force Col. Sid Banks,
chief of logistics plans within the Office of Logistics Readiness.
The Air Force, Banks said, can deploy specially trained teams that
have the ability to restore operations at the earthquake damaged
"We can resume operations on that specific field that may have
been crippled as a result of this catastrophe," Banks said. The Air
Force, he added, also can supply water-purification units.
From a logistics standpoint, the Air Force's contributions to
the Haitian humanitarian relief effort "are huge," Banks said. And
it's imperative, he emphasized, that the relief effort for Haiti is
a thought-out and organized endeavor.
"From a logistics-plan standpoint," Banks said, "we try to
understand our roles and responsibilities, so we can be efficient
and effective in getting the right stuff to the right place at the