By SOF Editor on Thu, 02/11/2010 - 11:13am
As part of Operation Unified Response, the crew of Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2 has been working non-stop from dropping off a Marine Air-Ground Task Force assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), to carrying approximately 300 tons of cargo to Killick Haitian Coast Guard Base.
Embarked aboard USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), ACU 2 is deployed in support of Operation Unified Response, providing humanitarian aid and medical support to the Haitian people.
"Our mission out here is ship-to-shore transport" said Engineman 3rd Class Jarrell Ray, from Sumpter, S.C., assigned to ACU 2. "From people to cargo to equipment, most of this stuff wouldn't been able to get here without our help. It's 'one team one fight', and it would've been very difficult to get all these supplies from us and from other ships here to Killick, so I feel we're a pretty important piece to this operation we have going on right now."
As the sun comes over the horizon, both crews from Landing Craft, Mechanized (LCM) 14 make early morning exits from Gunston Hall's well deck and start their transits to multiple destinations, including naval ships from Mexico and Colombia.
"Even though we don't speak the same language, we know what needs to get done" said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Mark Farrow, from Houston, assigned to ACU 2, "We're working towards the same goal, helping out the people of Haiti so we work together, building camaraderie, and we also learn about cultures and different life styles aboard other naval ships."
With the help from Sailors from Gunston Hall, non-stop working parties were formed to help off load some of the basic supplies that were essential for the people of Haiti for recovery from a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Caribbean island Jan. 12.
"Just knowing that I'm helping someone is very rewarding, you could see the joy on their faces which in returns gives me joy," said Smith. "I feel we play a major part in this because without us nothing would have gotten here because were the only craft that can get into Killick, and I just feel honored to be a major part in this."
Being part of such a massive relief effort can be a life-changing experience for some.
"I will take back a lot of good memories of helping people" said Farrow. "The first couple of days I carried stretchers for medical evacuation and that is very rewarding to me, just helping out and knowing I am a part of something bigger."
Yet many Sailors wish they could do more.
"By bringing these supplies to shore and having them distributed, I know that people are getting fed. But there is always that one, that one mouth that hasn't been fed yet, and that's what drives me every morning to get up and do it all over again," said Ray.