US military helicopters stop in Cayman en route to Haiti

Part of a humanitarian relief mission

In October 2016, American military helicopters used Grand Cayman's airport as a staging area for relief operations in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Four helicopters carrying 49 US military personnel landed in Grand Cayman on Sunday night to refuel and receive other services while en route to Haiti in a humanitarian relief mission.

Four more helicopters are expected to arrive on Monday.

The overnight visit is part of US efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Haiti, following Saturday’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the southwestern part of the country.

The aircraft, which include three US Army CH-47 Chinook, three UH-60 and two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, will provide heavy and medium air-lift to any planned US Agency for International Development (US AID)-led mission to assist Haitian disaster response capabilities, the Cayman Islands government said in a press release.

The helicopters and personnel are assigned to Joint Task Force-Bravo, one of three task forces under United States Southern Command.

- Advertisement -

The task force is a mix of air and ground units and operates a forward, all weather, day/night, Category-5 capable air base in Soto Cano, Honduras.

In October 2016, members from Joint Task Force Bravo flew from Honduras to Grand Cayman to support US AID foreign disaster work in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

In September 2017, helicopters carrying 40 members of the Honduras-based US Marine Corps briefly landed in Cayman as part of regional Hurricane Irma relief operations.

The request to land in Grand Cayman came from the US Southern Command, and was approved by the United Kingdom and Cayman Islands governments.

The Public Health Department and Travel Cayman are in touch with US military authorities to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are followed during the visit.

All personnel returned negative PCR test results before receiving permission to enter the Cayman Islands.

- Advertisement -

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now