“Herculean Work”

Those are the words Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, the second in command of the US military’s Haiti relief effort—now called Joint Task Force Unified Response—used to describe efforts to open and operate the international airport in the earthquake-ravaged country. Air Force Special Operations Command combat controllers, among the first US forces to arrive, had the airport operating within 30 minutes and days later were coordinating the first airdrop of supplies—15,000 meals and more than 15,000 liters of water—by a USAF C-17. In talking with reporters Jan. 19 (transcript), Allyn said, “Air Force units and supporting units have been doing herculean work, extraordinary work, at Port-au-Prince.” The airdrop capability “has been part of our arsenal from the outset,” said Allyn in response to a question, but it required coordination on the ground to secure the drop zone and ensure proper distribution of supplies.