ABOARD USS NASSAU --
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is off the coast of Haiti Jan. 23 staged to support ongoing relief efforts in Haiti after a 7.0 earthquake devastated the country last week.
The 24th MEU and their Navy counterparts of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group were planned to sail across the Atlantic Jan. 20 aboard the naval vessels USS Nassau, USS Mesa Verde, and USS Ashland, on a regularly scheduled 7-month deployment to the European and Central Command theaters of operation, but was given the order to push south to Haiti Jan. 19.
“We are well trained for humanitarian assistance, have a robust capability and we’re ready to help wherever we can,” said Col. Pete Petronzio, commanding officer, 24th MEU.
The Marines bring all their capability as a Marine Air-Ground Task Force with nearly 2,300 Marines capable of a variety of tasks including engineering operations, transportation, and medical support. The MEU also has an aviation element centered around the Marine Corps’ newest aircraft the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, along with CH-53 heavy lift helicopters and UH-1 Hueys.
The 24th MEU is made up of the following units: Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (based out of New River Air Station N.C.), Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment (based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.), and Combat Logistics Battalion 24 (based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.)
There is not a definitive timeline for how long the 24th MEU and Nassau Amphibious Ready Group will be assisting in Haiti.