Soldiers, Airmen return from Haiti relief mission

U.S. Army Soldiers from Fort Eustis greet members of the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element after returning from Haiti at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 20, 2016. The 689th RPOE worked with members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Defense Logistics Agency and other Department of Defense assets as part of a joint task force in a massive effort to receive and sort supplies for those in need as a result of Hurricane Matthew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese)

U.S. Army Soldiers from Fort Eustis greet members of the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element after returning from Haiti at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 20, 2016. The 689th RPOE worked with members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Defense Logistics Agency and other Department of Defense assets as part of a joint task force in a massive effort to receive and sort supplies for those in need as a result of Hurricane Matthew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese)

U.S. Army Soldiers from Fort Eustis welcome home members of the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element from Haiti at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 20, 2016. The unit provided disaster relief/humanitarian assistance efforts for two weeks, as a result of Hurricane Matthew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese)

U.S. Army Soldiers from Fort Eustis welcome home members of the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element from Haiti at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 20, 2016. The unit provided disaster relief/humanitarian assistance efforts for two weeks, as a result of Hurricane Matthew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese)

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III brings about 20 members of the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element home from Haiti at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 20, 2016. The RPOEs are the U.S. Army’s main component for both the Seaport of Debarkation and Airport of Debarkation of the United States Transportation Command’s Joint Task Force-Port Openings mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese)

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III brings about 20 members of the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element home from Haiti at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 20, 2016. The RPOEs are the U.S. Army’s main component for both the Seaport of Debarkation and Airport of Debarkation of the United States Transportation Command’s Joint Task Force-Port Openings mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Dover Air Force Base, Deleware, transported about 20 membersof the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element from Haiti to Joint Base Langley-Eustis Oct. 20, 2016. The Soldiers spent about two weeks supporting disaster relief and humanitarian assistance efforts as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

The overall mission was to transport 400 tons of emergency-relief supplies via truck and helicopter to the people of Haiti.

“As a rapid deploying unit, RPOE Soldiers must always be prepared to provide support anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice,” said U.S. Army Capt. Adam Grover, 689th commander.

The 689th RPOE worked with members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Defense Logistics Agency and multiple other Department of Defense assets as part a joint task force in a massive effort to receive and sort supplies that came into Port-au-Prince International Airport, Haiti, before coordinating delivery to the hardest-hit areas.

“I think what's critical to remember is the role that we play is to provide a unique capability that no one else can provide during a specific period in time,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Kurt Tidd, U.S. Southern Command commander.

“What we did was the big jump start to be able to surge that initial volume of critical life-saving materials forward to get it on the ground, get it in the hands of the [Nongovernmental Organizations] and the distribution network.