Archive for January, 2011

January’s Engineer Moment in History

Divers building a rebar cage for a pile cap. (U.S. Navy Photo)

Divers building a rebar cage for a pile cap. (U.S. Navy Photo)

ARMY ENGINEER DIVERS HELP RELIEF EFFORT IN HAITI – JANUARY TO MARCH 2010

Just twelve months ago on 12 January 2010, a massive earthquake rocked Port-au-Prince, killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians, and left even more homeless. The quake also demolished the main pier in the harbor. At that time, the 544th Engineer Dive Team was conducting a training exercise in the Caribbean. The 544th was diverted to Port-au-Prince to assess the damage to the pier and begin rehabilitation efforts as part of Operation Unified Response.  Arriving on 18 January, they spent the next ten weeks repairing or completely reconstructing the caps for 39 bents with 234 piles. The Engineer divers faced environmental hazards caused by filthy water and harsh conditions in Port-au-Prince’s harbor. Equipment break downs and weather changes also slowed progress. But, the Engineer divers persevered and rehabilitated a large section of the pier. Ships then used the pier to offload humanitarian supplies for the suffering Haitian people. Each of the 17 divers in the 544th logged about 350 hours of bottom time.  Navy divers and other Navy assets also provided material and logistical support.

For more on the 544th Engineer Dive Team’s efforts, see the lead article in the current issue of Engineer at: http://www.wood.army.mil/engrmag/Sep-Dec2010.htm

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