Joint MARS Emergency Communications Support to "Project MEDISHARE" Ends
The emergency communications support provided by Amateur Radio and MARS operators to the University of Miami Medical Center's Project MEDISHARE in Haiti has concluded, as normal communications links are re-established after a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, killing thousands and wiped out the island nation's communication infrastructure.
"For the past six weeks, Amateur Radio and MARS operators have worked together with medical and humanitarian organizations in Haiti to provide life-saving communications as part of the massive earthquake relief effort," said Air Force MARS Public Information Officer David Trachtenberg, N4WWL/AFA3TR. "Multiple teams of communications specialists -- including Army, Navy-Marine Corps, and Air Force MARS members -- have rotated into and out of Haiti, providing critical communications links between military and medical units on-site and US medical facilities stateside."
"We are immensely proud of the work our Joint MARS operators did to support the humanitarian relief effort," said Air Force MARS Chief Allen Eiermann. Navy-Marine Corps MARS Chief Bo Lindfors agreed: "The lessons learned from this experience will be extremely valuable as MARS fulfills its emergency communications mission." Army MARS Chief Jim Griffin noted that "Interoperability across agencies and organizations is critical in a disaster. We are grateful to our Joint-Service MARS members for providing the essential links that helped save lives."
The volunteer MARS operators who traveled to Haiti to assist in the relief effort did so on their own, under the auspices of the humanitarian organizations they supported and not as part of any official Department of Defense activation of MARS. Their efforts were applauded by the medical personnel whose work they facilitated.