Locally-based military members return from Haiti storm relief

Specialist Jerimyha Pectol, 689th Rapid Port Opening Element, stages humanitarian aid intended for victims of Hurricane Matthew at Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, October 17th, 2016. The RPOE is a part of Joint Task Force-Port Opening Matthew commited to rapidly distrubuting aid to those in need.(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Waggoner/released)

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — About 20 service members of the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element returned home from Haiti Thursday.

The team spent about two weeks helping with disaster relief and humanitarian aid efforts after Hurricane Matthew tore through Haiti.

“As a rapid deploying unit, RPOE Soldiers must always be prepared to provide support anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice,” Capt. Adam Grover, 689th commander, said before his unit deployed to Haiti.

The 689th RPOE worked with members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Defense Logistics Agency and other military groups as part of a joint task force working to receive and sort supplies that came into Port-au-Prince International Airport, before coordinating deliveries to the hardest-hit areas.

The 689th RPOE, along with the 688th and 690th RPOE, fall under the 833rd Transportation Battalion and 597th Transportation Brigade, headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. The RPOEs are the Army’s surface element for both the Seaport of Debarkation and Airport of Debarkation of United States Transportation Command’s Joint Task Force-Port Openings mission.