U-2 Joins Haiti Relief

The 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif. on Wednesday dispatched one of its U-2 reconnaissance aircraft to Robins AFB, Ga., to support the humanitarian-assistance mission in Haiti. Operating temporarily from Robins, the high-flying aircraft will take high-quality, broad-area overhead imagery of the Caribbean nation, which was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12. These images will make it easier to coordinate and prioritize the relief activities across the nation, said Air Force officials. Already an RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance aircraft from Beale has flown over Haiti and unarmed MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted surveillance aircraft are supporting the mission. First Lt. Richard Ricciardi, a Beale spokesman, told the Daily Report Thursday that U-2s have been used in the past in disaster-relief roles, such as after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and California wildfires in 2007. (Includes Beale report by TSgt. Luke Johnson)