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#2572: Military Base Cap Haitian : Hill relates (fwd)

From: T. Hill <thbio@excite.com>

Just a little more info on the U.S. Military presence in Cap Haitian.  In
January, I was at the orphanage in Cap Haitian when the troops arrived to
begin work.  This may sound corny, but it made me very proud to be an
American as I saw our soldiers participating in such a worthwhile project. 
The US military gets so much bad press (sometimes rightfully so) and the
good things such as this, so often go unreported.  These soldiers were
excited about their mission and the fact that they were going to make a
difference in the lives of the 50 or so kids at the orphanage.  This mission
is a part of Operation New Horizions that provides infrastructure building
and humanitarian asistance in developing countries.  In the past, most New
Horizions projects have taken place in Central America.  The current group
in Cap Haitian is the 820th Red Horse Squadron (an Engineering Sqd.) from
Nellis AFB.  In visiting with some of the soldiers working at the orphanage,
they stated they were deployed till March 31.  Their unit was working on the
orphanage, doing some road work around town, and working at the hospital in
Cap Haitien.  This is not a long term deployment for these soldiers.  As
stated earlier, they are living in tents at the end of the airport runway. 
Contrary to Mr. Goff's information, this is a temporary camp and there is no
evidence of permanent structures being built.  These are rotational training
missions for the units.  Active duty soldiers deploy for three months or so
while reserve units are deploying for two to three weeks.  The soldiers get
"real world" training and the host country gets the infrastructure benefits.
The soldiers I spoke with did state that another group will be working in
the south after this group leaves in March.  

As to how the orphanage was chosen, we who are connected with the orphanage
are still not totally sure.  Mr. Benson's story could be true (this is the
first time I had heard it).  These facts I do know...   The Major(?) in
charge called the orphanage administrator last last summer and said the unit
will be there in January to help build some facilities and make some
repairs.  A survey/assement group from USAID had been by earlier last year
as they were surveying other schools, orphanages, etc, and that could be the
reason the orphanage was on "the list".  We don't know.  We are just
thankful that they have come and are doing the work.

I will be returning to Cap Haitian in a few weeks and if anyone is
interested, I can provide them with further information after I return.


Tony Hill
Haiti Health Care Missions


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