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HomeNewsArchivesVING Troops Tapped for Haiti Mission

VING Troops Tapped for Haiti Mission

Selected for their language skills and much needed experience in water purification, a group of V.I. National Guard soldiers and airmen will deploy within a month to help earthquake-ravaged residents in the Haitian city of Gonaives.

At least 10 local troops will be the first to rotate into Haiti as part of a 500-member task force led by the Louisiana National Guard, according to VING spokeswoman Master Sgt. Karen Williams.

Williams said the VING has 30 Creole speakers in its ranks, five of whom are part of a V.I. team providing technical expertise in reverse osmosis water purification.

“That put us on the map,” Williams said.

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She said VING troops have been eager to serve in Haiti ever since the earthquake struck Jan. 12.

“We were like, ‘Hey, that’s right here in the Caribbean,’” she said. “We felt like those (people) were our own.”

The deployment will last roughly from June through September.

The Louisiana National Guard’s main mission is to build schools to replace the tents that students are using as classrooms, according to recent news reports from Louisiana. Many Haitians fled from Port-au-Prince to Gonaives, about 95 miles away.

In addition to the construction teams and engineers, the New Horizons task force will send medical teams and the V.I. water purification unit to outlying communities that have been mostly out of reach.

“Our guys can take a lake and produce fresh water ready to drink,” Williams said of the VING team.

The troops will leave the territory as early as late May, or as late as early June, she said.

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Selected for their language skills and much needed experience in water purification, a group of V.I. National Guard soldiers and airmen will deploy within a month to help earthquake-ravaged residents in the Haitian city of Gonaives.

At least 10 local troops will be the first to rotate into Haiti as part of a 500-member task force led by the Louisiana National Guard, according to VING spokeswoman Master Sgt. Karen Williams.

Williams said the VING has 30 Creole speakers in its ranks, five of whom are part of a V.I. team providing technical expertise in reverse osmosis water purification.

“That put us on the map,” Williams said.

She said VING troops have been eager to serve in Haiti ever since the earthquake struck Jan. 12.

“We were like, ‘Hey, that’s right here in the Caribbean,’” she said. “We felt like those (people) were our own.”

The deployment will last roughly from June through September.

The Louisiana National Guard’s main mission is to build schools to replace the tents that students are using as classrooms, according to recent news reports from Louisiana. Many Haitians fled from Port-au-Prince to Gonaives, about 95 miles away.

In addition to the construction teams and engineers, the New Horizons task force will send medical teams and the V.I. water purification unit to outlying communities that have been mostly out of reach.

“Our guys can take a lake and produce fresh water ready to drink,” Williams said of the VING team.

The troops will leave the territory as early as late May, or as late as early June, she said.