News: New Orleans Area Reservists arrive in Haiti
By Capt. Jose R. Emperador
One hundred and sixty-eight U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 377th Theater Sustainment Command headquartered out of Belle Chasse, La., landed at Toussaint L'Ouverture Airport in Port-au-Prince Feb. 28, to support Operation Unified Response, the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort in Haiti.
The group of Soldiers joined seven other 377th TSC reserve Soldiers already in Haiti and together are preparing to assume the Joint Logistics Command - Haiti mission from the 3rd Expeditionary Command. Led by Maj. Gen. Luis R. Visot, the 377th TSC will lend its logistical and sustainment management expertise to the relief effort in the earthquake-ravaged country.
"Our Soldiers were eager to get on the ground and get to work," Visot said. "We've already partnered-up with the 3rd ESC troops to begin the transition. Everyone is highly motivated."
A small group of 377th TSC Soldiers has been in Port-au-Prince since Thursday surveying the operations area in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the unit. One of those early arrivals was Sgt. 1st Class Serge Francois of New Orleans, whose parents where born in Haiti. Francois, owner of the mobile Shining Star Auto Detailing service in New Orleans, is an Army logistics management expert when in uniform. The former active duty Soldier who vividly remembers the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, welcomed the opportunity to answer the call to duty in Haiti.
"I thought it was cool, after what happened in New Orleans and my Haitian Heritage, to come and help this country out," Francois, whose father is the pastor of the Beacon Light of Haiti at New Orleans, said.
Prior to arriving in Haiti, the 377th TSC spent a week at Fort Bliss, Texas, undergoing rigorous training in preparation for the unique conditions they will experience while supporting Operation Unified Response.
With over 43,000 soldiers spread over of 40 states, the 377th TSC is the largest command in the U.S. Army Reserve. The unit is based out of the Naval Air Station - Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse, La., located just outside of New Orleans. The 377th TSC is expected to be serving in Haiti for several months.