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    JCSE provides humanitarian support to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew



    Story by Airman 1st Class Rito Smith 

    6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

    A team from the Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) at MacDill Airforce Base, Florida, deployed Oct. 7, 2016, to provide humanitarian support and aid the disaster relief mission in areas of Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew.

    The mission was stood up by U.S. Southern Command and was formally called Joint Task Force Matthew (JTF-Matthew).

    MacDill sent a team from JCSE to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to setup communications and aid in delivering critical supplies to those in need.

    “The mission was to provide support and aid by delivering supplies and personnel to areas that were impacted by the storm,” said Capt. Sean White, company commander of the 1st Joint Communications Squadron. “We provided this by establishing lines of communication from the Joint Operations Center to the service members in the field that facilitated information sharing and coordination to support the relief effort.”

    As with any operation, good communication is key to ensure the mission is completed accurately and in a timely fashion.

    As soon as the team arrived, they had many obstacles to overcome; such as locating the best possible placement for their satellite terminal as well as for their secondary satellite, which was on stand-by in case of an emergency.

    “Integrating with the units that were involved with the relief effort was challenging during the initial standing up of JTF-Matthew,” said White. “However, the JCSE communications team led by Master Sgt. Gabriel Peterson overcame each challenge they faced with expertise and professionalism.”

    After everything was set up, the main focus of the team was keeping communication channels functional as well as helping deliver supplies needed for the mission.

    “We worked 16-hour days and covered a night shift. Some of the stuff we did on a typical day was help other units load helicopters with supplies, and then going forward to assist in delivering those goods,” said Peterson, the global response force NCO in charge assigned to the 290th Joint Communications Support Squadron. “We weren’t on the ground long when we delivered the goods, but we did have contact with the Haitian culture.”

    Although the government of Haiti led the humanitarian response effort, the U.S. supported in any way they could. This relationship allowed the JCSE personnel to work hand-in-hand with the locals helping to off-load critical supplies.

    “My team got the opportunity to directly participate in the relief effort,” said White. “This allowed them to see why we were there, why we were working hard and to see the impact we were making on the lives of the Haitian People.

    This was the team’s first humanitarian relief mission together and the JCSE team worked diligently to understand and complete their mission.

    “The team that went to Haiti had the education and training to succeed in addition to the right attitude and aptitude,” said White. “Now they have the additional experience needed to further their professional development.”

    After all was said and done, the JCSE team felt as if they made an impact not only on the mission but on each other and everyone around them.

    “This mission truly humbled me as a person,” said Peterson. “I have provided communications to a lot of rough places, but seeing how grateful these people were was really eye opening for me.”



    Date Taken: 10.25.2016
    Date Posted: 12.30.2016 10:17
    Story ID: 218777
    Location: TAMPA, FL, US 

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