Staff Sgt. Karen Harless thinks often the Haiti’s children: kids of all ages wandering the crumbled streets of Port-au-Prince, their parents nowhere in sight. When they saw American military vehicles, they’d flag them down and ask for food and water.
“The first couple times we saw that it was pretty tough,” said Harless, the platoon sergeant of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 153rd Medical Detachment. “I have three kids myself. They were just walking around with nothing to do and nowhere to go.”
Harless was part of a 10-person blood services detachment who left Lewis-McChord in late January to help with the U.S. military’s humanitarian mission in Haiti. Two weeks later, 55 soldiers from the 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion headquarters left for Haiti.
The base’s 62nd Airlift Wing also has a presence in there: an aerial port squadron that offloads cargo at the airport, a maintenance team and aircrews that ferry supplies between Port-au-Prince and Charleston Air Force Base.
The troops are part of an American military force that arrived a week after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake destroyed much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed an estimated 230,000 people.
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