CARIBBEAN SEA –
Both ships are supporting U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) following a 7.2-magnitute earthquake that struck Haiti on Aug. 14, 2021.
"As the maritime component for this mission, we are on scene ready to provide whatever support we can to USAID," said Capt. Peter Ehlers, Joint Force Maritime Component Commander (JFMCC). "Our ships, aircraft, and personnel are ready to provide relief to the people of Haiti."
Burlington is utilizing its ScanEagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) to obtain aerial images of the destruction on the ground which helps relief planners determine where supplies are needed, what airfields can be used, and what roadways are accessible.
Both Burlington and Billings, along with her embarked MH-60S Seahawk assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, will be prepared for any additional tasking such as afloat refueling from U.S. Southern Command Joint Task Force-Haiti, commanded by Navy Rear Adm. Keith Davids, which was stood up to coordinate military support.
They join other U.S. Southern Command components and U.S. Coast Guard ships already on station, in addition to allies and partners from the Netherlands, France, and United Kingdom.
USS Billings and USNS Burlington have been to deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter-illicit drug trafficking missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability, and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American region.
Learn more about USNAVSO/4th Fleet at https://www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT and @NAVSOUS4THFLT
USS Arlington, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is part of Expeditionary Strike Group 2, whose mission is to provide timely, operational, amphibious expertise in support of national tasking to sustain maritime security and defense of the nation.