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Joint Task Force-Bravo gears up for humanitarian operations

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Erika Yepsen
  • Joint Task Force-Bravo public affairs
A UH-47 Chinook helicopter and a 10-person team from Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, landed here Sept. 6 bringing food, water and communications equipment to support the nine-person assessment team the base launched Sept. 5.

Included in the 10-person team was Col. Marcus De Oliveira, the Joint Task Force-Bravo commander, who was tasked with coordinating U.S. Department of Defense relief efforts in Puerto Cabezas.

The re-supply and communications equipment brought in will posture the U.S. Armed Forces for continued humanitarian operations in Nicaragua, said Maj. Jason Clark, an operations officer with the team.

"The conditions out here are really, really tough," said Sidney Velado, a regional advisor for USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

The first shipment of relief materials including blankets, roofing materials and hygiene kits from USAID's warehouse in Miami arrived in Puerto Cabezas late Sept. 6. Navy aircrews from the U.S.S. WASP will transport the materials from Puerto Cabezas to farther outlying areas along the Nicaraguan coast in need of relief materials. The aircrews from the U.S.S. WASP arrived in Puerto Cabezas early in the morning Sept. 7 and expect to depart with the humanitarian relief shortly.

"We were in the middle of an enormous exercise when the decision was made to come into port early to support this humanitarian relief," said Cmdr. Frank Dowd, the commanding officer of HM-15, a MH-53 helicopter flying squadron based off the U.S.S. WASP.

"It's great to be part of this," said Commander Dowd. "Everybody loves to be able to do the right thing and helping out here is the right thing to do."