USS BATAAN, At Sea -- The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked aboard the ships of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group at Morehead City Port, N.C., Jan. 16, 2010, en route to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake.
The unit is capable of conducting a variety of missions to support relief efforts such as providing security, medical and logistical support to the country. The country endured a 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12.
As part of the relief force, 31 French/Creole speaking interpreters were pulled from units throughout II Marine Expeditionary Force.
One interpreter, Lance Cpl. Junior D. Eugene, a bulk fuel specialist who came from Headquarters and Headquarters Support Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., said he's anxious to arrive as he was born in Haiti.
"I jumped right up and said I would go," he explained. "Whatever I can do to help, I' m going to do it."
Eugene, who grew-up in New York City, has six brothers and three sisters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, whom he has not been able to contact since the disaster struck.
"When I heard the news, I was devastated," he said. "I'm happy I'm getting the opportunity to support this mission."
The MEU recently returned from a seven-month deployment to the U.S. European Command and Central Command areas of operations. Though most Marines and sailors were only home for about five weeks, they mobilized in about 48-hours to answer Haiti's call for help.
Lance Cpl. Richard T. Simeone, a mortarman with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, explained that deploying again so soon is worth it.
"It was tough to drop everything and just leave," he said. "I told myself that being able to help a lot of people is worth the sacrifice – it's what we signed up to do."
The 22nd MEU is deployed aboard USS Bataan en route to the earthquake stricken country of Haiti to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to those affected. The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 (Rein.), Combat Logistics Battalion 22, and Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.