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The beginning of Day #67

April 18, 2010 | Major Andreas Wooten

Hello again to everyone. Today in the current JTF-Haiti Commanders last day. LTC Keen is the Deputy Commander of US SOUTHERN COMMAND and was in Haiti on the day of the now fameous 12 Jan 2010 earthquake.

LTG Keen will be followed by MG Trombitas, the US ARMY SOUTH Commander and current deputy commander of JTF-Haiti.

I am including below the e-mail sent out by LTG Keen to all the JTF-Haiti personnel. Mainly to show how many people are involved and that even though there is a great deal left to do, a great deal has been accomplished.

LTG Keens' words begin here:
"Teammates -- As I leave Haiti today and turn over command of JTF-H to MG Sim Trombitas, I wanted to say thanks and express my deepest appreciation for all that each of you have done for the people of Haiti.

I have had the honor and privilege of working side by side with all our U.S. Military services; Ambassador Ken Merten and the US Embassy team; USAID's Office of Response Coordination led initially by Ambassador Lew Lucke and now by Chris Milligan; the UN Peace Keeping Forces from 18 nations led by Brazilian Major General Floriano Peixoto and now MG Paul Cruz; hundreds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the Jenkins-Penn Haiti Relief Organization (J/P HRO) led by Sean Penn; the Government of Haiti leaders from President Preval, Prime Minister Bellerive, to all his Ministers; and numerous community leaders in displaced persons camps and local Mayors. I believe no one can come to Haiti and leave unchanged. I know I have certainly been personally and professionally affected by what I have seen and experienced since 12 January 2010.

I can't help but look back to that January day when life seemed to stop. I saw death, suffering, pain, sadness and fear. I saw things that I will never forget. Today, I see courage, resiliency, and determination. I see it in the camps and in the markets. I see it in the faces of the vendors selling mangos. I see it in the artists who show off their paintings to passersby. And I see it in Haiti's leaders, with whom I met regularly. I see hope all around Haiti.

Many Haitians realize that the catastrophe of January 12 also holds opportunity, a glimpse of hope to rebuild Haiti better. When I look at the children's faces, I see it. It's in their eyes and smiles. They hope to one day go to school so they can become doctors, engineers and teachers. They have hope that their fathers will find work to provide for their families. They have hope that one day they will live in a house instead of a tent in a camp. The children of Haiti have hope because of the overwhelming response of the world, a response led by America and the U.S. Military.

I am extremely proud of the efforts of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen as well as the many DoD civilians, interagency partners, and Americans who came to Haiti in response to this disaster. Each have sacrificed and given their all to this noble mission. You can all look back on this experience with pride and satisfaction knowing you saved lives and gave hope to the people of Haiti.

Much is left to be done and thanks to your efforts and those of our partners from around the world every day is better than the day before.

Thank each of you for your service to our Nation and the People of Haiti.

Ken Keen
LTG, U.S. Army
CDR, JTF-Haiti"
End of LTG Keens' words

So with that said, I continue to work with MIT, MIT/LL, the contractor and others assessing where and what the gaps are in the HA/DR comminities efforts and try to get those gaps filled as fast as we can with sustainable resources and technology.

Thanks for reading.



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