New Bragg commander talks Haiti

Lt. General Frank Helmick, 82nd Airborne Corps

January 21, 2010 9:00:00 PM PST
ABC11 Eyewitness News spoke with the new post commander on Friday about his troops spearheading relief efforts in Haiti, while fighting wars on two fronts.Lt. General Frank Helmick took charge of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg less than two months ago. But he that's fighting terrorist on two war fronts.

"We are doing a lot for our nation," Helmick said. "But our nation expects a lot of their military."

The general has inherited a command with a full plate. Helmick says his soldiers are fighting two very different wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And now his soldiers not are providing humanitarian aid to earthquake shaken Haiti.

"No infrastructure in Afghanistan, very, very hard lines of supply to get any type of equipment materials out there, an infrastructure that is nonexistent," Helmick said. "Iraq, very, very different pace. There is infrastructure. There's ability to get equipment in very mature theater. Afghanistan not a mature theater. Both enemies are very, very adaptive and we will have continued challenges as we move forward in both theaters."

And the general says now with Haiti, soldiers face more challenges.

"The biggest challenge for us is to number one, continue to support from here at Fort Bragg with sustained logistics," Helmick said. "And by tonight at 23:00, we'll have about 2,750 soldiers in Haiti and well over 300 vehicles rolling stock."

Fort Bragg has sent pallets of food and water and nearly $2 million worth of medical supplies.

But back home, the general says he is concerned with the quality of life for his soldiers and their families.

Helmick says he is proud of the new military barracks for single soldiers and the new homes for married troops and their families.

He's even launched a new 18th Airborne Corps Facebook page to get input from his troops and their families.

Click here to visit Lt. General Frank Helmick's Facebook page.

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