A US Southern Command task force has moved 480 metric tons of supplies to Haiti since Hurricane Matthew struck Oct. 4, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths. Twenty military aircraft— including C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules aircraft from Dover AFB, Del., Dyess AFB, Texas, Little Rock AFB, Ark, and JB Charleston, S.C.—have transported the supplies to and throughout the island nation, according to a Joint Task Force Matthew release. The supplies, including rice, cooking oil, hygiene kits, and medical goods, pass through an aerial port created by airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., who deployed to Port-au-Prince on Oct. 6. Army and Marine helicopters, including CH-53E Super Stallions, CH-47 Chinooks, and Black Hawks, then move them to remote areas. SOUTHCOM chief Adm. Kurt Tidd, who has visited Haiti twice since Matthew struck, said Tuesday during a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C., that he has already seen significant progress since the storm “essentially devastated” the southwestern tip of the country. He said the US military aircraft were able to transport emergency supplies to the hardest hit areas while other international responders worked to open up the road system.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.