As a young surface warfare officer aboard a US Navy destroyer in the mid-90's, I had made several trips to Guantanamo Bay to conduct Navy Refresher Trainer or more traditionally referred to as REFTRA.
I was in GTMO when tens of thousands of Haitian migrants resided there after they tried to flee their country after a military coup on the island ousted President Jean-Betrand Aristide.
The Clinton administration chose GTMO because it was understood that the base was not on sovereign U.S. territory, and thus the Haitians could not use the U.S. federal courts to seek relief or release by writs of habeas corpus (like the detainees in GTMO enjoy today).
That is why the plight of Haitians means so much to me. Ever since my early years in the Navy and I have closely followed the path of the US Navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort as she made two deployments to Haiti over the last three years.
Despite the grave tragedy, the Haiti people are fighters with an unshakable spirit. It's amazing that people and even babies are still surviving over a week after the quake. They will not give in, and they are supporting each other in order to survive.
As the USNS Comfort the 1,000 bed hospital ship got underway last Saturday, I was both elated and regretful. I was optimistically cheerful for the medic and crew as they would be able to save lives and treat hundreds of thousands of seriously injured. I was sad because I wanted to be on board to serve. I had also once served aboard the Comfort; however, I never had the opportunity to serve in Haiti.
Next weekend (31 Jan), I will do my small part to support the Haiti relief effort. I will run the Miami Marathon for Team World Vision in support of Operation Hope. My body is still battered from the Disney Marathon last weekend. However, this is an extremely small part to play for a larger relief effort already underway.
To support Chito's run for Operation Hope for Haiti, please click here. Thank you