Last night, I participated in a Department of Defense’s Bloggers Roundtable with Lieutenant General Ken Keen, commander of Joint Task Force Haiti. My Q & A follows:
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the role of the Coast Guard in JTF Haiti?
A: GEN. KEEN: Well, like all of our services, the Coast Guard was absolutely essential. I mentioned our airmen who were instrumental in opening the airport. Well, likewise, our Coast Guard were the first aircraft seen the morning after the earthquake, and they were coming to do medical evacuations.
I mean, one of my officers was critically injured. He was standing on the fifth floor of the Montana. He found himself in the basement. He crawled out. We found him and brought him up to the ambassador’s residence, did the best we could to treat him all night. Of course, we didn’t have any real pain medication. And folks cleaned him up. But basically, he had a broken arm, some broken ribs. He had a lot of deep lacerations.
So we knew we had to do MEDEVAC, but we couldn’t do MEDEVACs that night because of safety issues. Quite frankly, we couldn’t get him to open areas where we could get the helicopters in.
So at first light, the Coast Guard had assets that were MEDEVACing folks from the embassy down by the airport because we moved them there, and we moved those individuals back to hospitals back at Guantanamo Bay.
So they showed up very quickly with some cutters as well as, obviously, aircraft. And they were flying MEDEVACs throughout that first day as we were finding folks that were hurt and injured and collecting them.
View Lt. Gen. Keen’s bio, by clicking here.
To listen to the interview live, click here.
Cross-posted over at CGBlog.org