The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit set sail at 0900 on Saturday, January 16th, from Camp Lejeune, NC. The sailors and Marines of 22nd MEU have been working round-the-clock for over 24 hours to prepare for sea. Now, they are steaming at full speed toward Haiti—a thousand-mile journey. By my calculations, they should be on scene by sometime Tuesday morning.
Colonel Gary Brandl and his staff will spend the next few days gathering intelligence and planning for their mission. The Marines will be training in first aid, brushing up on their French and Creole phrases, and cleaning and preparing their equipment.
You will know when the Marines land. They have some uniquely recognizable tools they are bringing to this life-saving operation. The first vehicle you will see will be their Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) hovercraft. The LCACs are actually maintained and operated by the U. S. Navy, but the Marines use these vehicles to move their men, vehicles and equipment from ship-to-shore.
The LCACs are huge, capable of carrying a 60-75 ton payload. They are high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft. LCACs can carry heavy payloads, such as an M-1 tank. Air cushion technology allows this vehicle to reach more than 70 percent of the world’s coastline, while only about 15 percent of that coastline is accessible by conventional landing craft.
These amphibious craft will allow the Marines to quickly bring supplies onto the island. They will be highly visible and when you see one in the next few days, you will know the Marines have landed.
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