Haiti thanks Coast Guard

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His Excellency Raymond A. Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, receives honors from the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard while being escorted into Coast Guard Headquarters by Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kip Wadlow)
His Excellency Raymond A. Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, receives honors from the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard while being escorted into Coast Guard Headquarters by Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kip Wadlow)

Hours after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January, the Coast Guard Cutter Forward was on the scene. In the days and weeks that followed, many Coast Guard units, resources and members would play a major role in responding to and helping Haiti begin to recover from one of the worst natural disasters in that island republic’s history.

This morning, the Honorable Raymond A. Joseph, Republic of Haiti Ambassador to the United States, visited Coast Guard Headquarters to pay tribute to the hundreds of Coast Guardsmen who rendered assistance to his country.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Michael Petras accepts a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the crew of the Coast Guard Valiant from Ambassador Joseph (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kip Wadlow)
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Michael Petras accepts a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant from Ambassador Joseph (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kip Wadlow)

Ambassador Joseph formally recognized eight Coast Guardsmen during the ceremony but expressed his gratitude to each of the men and women who responded during an exclusive interview with Coast Guard Compass.

“To you all, I want to say thank you and we will always remember what you have done.”

Among those recognized were Petty Officer Second Class Robert Meade, a machinery technician on CGC Tahoma, and Commander John Driscoll, executive officer on CGC Mohawk.

“What they went through is just mind-blowing,” said Meade, who was recognized for his role in setting up a triage station that is credited with saving dozens of lives. “It makes you think about all of the things we take for granted. The Haitians are very resilient.”

CDR Driscoll represented his shipmates aboard CGC Mohawk. The cutter was on scene within 22 hours of the earthquake and the subject of a number of Compass blog posts back in January.

“The honor goes to the whole crew,” said CDR Driscoll. “It was chaotic but also amazing to watch our people spring to action in a mass casualty situation and care for hundreds of people. We were a small force but we set the conditions for the larger response.”

Click here to read more about the Coast Guard response to the Haiti earthquake. You can also click here to visit the U.S. Coast Guard homepage where you can view a personal message from Ambassador Joseph to the men and women of the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Capt. Steven Baynes accepts a plaque and certificate of appreciation from Raymond A. Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, alongside the ambassador's wife Lola and Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kip Wadlow. )
Coast Guard Capt. Steven Baynes accepts a plaque and certificate of appreciation from Raymond A. Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, alongside the ambassador's wife Lola and Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kip Wadlow. )

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