Here's an email update from Marine Colonel Jim Kessler who is in command of the
UN military humanitarian logistical relief effort around Sri Lanka:
..we have many Marines and sailors active on the ground in Sri Lanka. I am in command of Marine Logistics Regiment-2 (MLR-2) composed of 9th Engineer Support Battalion, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion-7 (SeaBees), and a Det from the 15 MEU out of Camp Pendleton off the Duluth and part of ESG-5.
We are under the Command of BGen Frank Panter, Combined Support Group-Sri Lanka.
We have been on the ground since 2 Jan and have had a SIGIFICANT impact on the local Sri Lankan people. We have made and delivered 10's of thousands of gallons of water working with the Austrian Army, we have cleared numerous schools of tons debris and ruble so they can reopen them, we are building portable heads (latrines for those Army readers), and provided much needed engineer assistance in opening the roads in order to get life back to normal. We have also assisted in the delivery of tons of Humanitarian Assistence items through the NGO's in the area.
I visited one of our job sites at a small fishing village where most of the homes were demolished by the tsunami. Hardly a family made it through without significant loss of life and property. Yet, despite these horrific losses, they had smiles on their faces as they saw Marines working their butts off helping them get things back in order. I tell you, it gives me goose bumps just thinking about how marvelous these young AMERICANS are. Not just Marines, but the sailors and soldiers with us as well. They work their tails off and still have time to play with the kids and bring smiles to their beautiful little faces. You would be SO very proud of the job they are doing!
While the efforts in each country vary significantly, I can tell you we have had a lasting positive impact on the people of Sri Lanka.
Col J. A. Kessler
Hopefully, Col Kessler will send more about what his Marines, Sailors and Soldiers are doing. [Thanks to Seamus for the email and contact!]