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EXCLUSIVE: First Coast News Travels to Cuba with NAS Jacksonville, Haiti Supplies

6:45 PM, Jan 19, 2010   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The flight from the First Coast to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is a short three hours, but the scope of the mission is tremendous.

The cargo on board the C-130 Cargo planes out of NAS Jacksonville means life or death for the hundreds of thousands of families left in ruins from the earthquake in Haiti.

"It should tell everybody in the rest of the world that America continues to carry on our great tradition of coming to the rescue of people in need," said Cmdr. Terry Surdyke. "Almost anywhere in the world, we are the first ones there."

Ten-thousand cases of bottled water are on their way to Haiti from NAS Jacksonville, along with 125 tents, boxes of needed medical supplies, and thousands of pounds of food.

The boxes have a message of hope stamped on them: Food gift from the people of the United States of America

The 600,000 thousand pounds of donations came from local stores like Winn-Dixie, Publix, Walmart and Home Depot.

The men and women at NAS Jacksonville packed it all up and hauled it to Guantanamo Bay where it'll be sorted and organized for the critical jump to Haiti.

"It goes to show, even though we are the most powerful out there, we are doing it for the right reason," said a crew member.

The service men and women didn't flinch when asked to help.

"All I got to say is, if there's a mission for something like that, I think all of us are going to be the first ones to put up our hands and say, 'I'll go,'" said one pilot.

Watch First Coast News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. for exclusive reports from Guantanamo Bay.

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