Idaho Air Guard Soldiers Delayed in Trip to Haiti


A group of civil engineers with the Idaho Air National Guard was prepared to leave for Haiti this morning, but all but one have been delayed in their deployment, according to Lt. Col. Timothy Marsano, a public affairs officer with the Guard.

Though one Idaho airman is on his way to Haiti, via Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina, the rest are delayed until the equipment they were to use arrives on the island, Marsano said.

The 124th Civil Engineering Squadron will work on infrastructure to support troops already on the ground in Haiti; tents, power, sanitation, water and refrigeration. But Marsano said the logistical situation is still in flux and it could be Feb. 10 before the rest of of the squadron ships out.

The Pentagon requested 18 engineers from the squadron, but Marsano said 40 volunteered to go.

“We were going to send 18, no matter what, whether they volunteer or whether we mandate that they go,” Marsano said. “Over 40 people raised their hands.”

The United States has about 15,000 troops in and around Haiti now, according to Jose Ruiz, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command. Most are stationed on ships in the waters around the island, but about 4,400 are on the island, Ruiz said, and according to the Christian Science Monitor, many may be there for the long haul.

There has been some criticism of the troop levels, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lashed out at critics today.

More Haiti news now in BW world news.