Monday, January 25, 2010

A Message from My Brother in Haiti

Hello Bloggers! I thought you guys might like to see an email I received this weekend from my brother Gordon who is a Naval Reserve officer currently serving in the Navy's rescue efforts in Haiti. It's unbelieveable what our people are doing down there. Combined with our own charitable donations, it does seem that we're doing a great deal to help.

He said it's okay to share, so I hope you guys appreciate hearing some news from somebody I consider a family hero.

Gordon's Email (unedited):

"Family, Friends:

I slept on the 3rd floor of the US Embassy in Haiti. Hundreds of us are sleeping in the hallways and between cubicles - Admirals - Captains - Colonels - Civlian experts - from around our country to bring what is needed to the Haitain people.

The edges of the airport were lined with tents of every branch of the military and from other foreign countries. The floor was nice and hard, and I figured out why noone else was using that spot - it was right by a door that people use all night long - new spot on the floor Sunday night. RADM Wolfe sent me forward from GITMO to be the Sustainment Officer, a Liaison Officer to RADM Thomas to coordinate and establish Logistics systems - ship and aircraft loading, transportation, fuel, rations and water, etc..

We have begun Joint Logistics Over the Shore - JLOTS - and soon we will be moved to a tent camp somewhere near the embassy. I tell you - everywhere I've gone looks like a movie set off of Independence Day - surreal - unbelievable. I flew down with 2 other guys in the rear end of a C130 and two EOC containers. I ate dinner and was debriefed by Rear Admiral (RADM) Wolfe at Guatanamo Bay Cuba Naval Air Station.

Shortly after that I flew in the rear end of a COD (a Navy prop plane with folding wings) with a DESRON Captain and some MREs, tents and water. Its MREs and bottled water for me from here on. The length of stay of is indefinite - probably not that long, but that is subject to demands. Please pray - this situation is unbeliebable - food and water seems to be available to the Haitians - medical and housing is the problem. We can't build enough hospitals.

We have ships coming that my battalion will be unloading. The Marines, Army, and Navy helicopters seem to be the only thing that works to get it from the ports into areas of need. Some Marines are on patrol looking for hurting people and when they find them they call in air support and bring in aid just like they would if they found an enemy force. - It makes your heart swell.

I'll have Sailors in 3 different locations and their security is a concern. Some Marines are sleeping in the dirt - but there are some amazing, heroic things going on here - Americans thinking out of the box - helping people - we are using aircraft carriers - amphibious ships - the show of strength is stunning.

Love Gordon, Dad, brother, son, friend, nephew....."

To me it sounds like a war zone. Still, it's wonderful to use aircraft carriers and amphibious ships to feed and save people. It is so cool! I like our military to be flexible - more value that way. I do hope my brother and all those helping the Haitian people are safe. It's amazing, my family lost their homes and nearly their lives helping others through Katrina (I'm from New Orleans), and now my brother is helping save lives in Haiti.

I must admit, I'm very proud of my family. I haven't been traumatized by any natural disasters yet (though living in LA leaves ample opportunity), but if I live up to my family's recent bravery and willingness to help others, then I should be an asset to my community. God willing.

May God watch over my brother and all those who are sacrificing for the people of Haiti - Michael

PS - I hope I'm not inappropriate here, but I would also like to report how happy I am the Saints are going to the Superbowl - I'm pretty sure it thrills my brother in Haiti too.

It is very special to the people of New Orleans - even those of us who had to leave the Crescent City to follow our career. I'm sure I can speak for all by saying we are all still Saints fans, no matter how long we've been away. Go Saints!

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