“Haiti, for all intents and purposes, became the 51st state at 4:53 p.m. Tuesday in the wake of its deadly earthquake,” noted Time magazine. “The U.S. military effort alone will soon have 33,000 troops ashore or in direct support of the relief operations,” predicted the Weekly Standard. Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, said he was watching to see if there might be an impact on operations in Central Asia and the Middle East.
That didn’t happen. In a bloggers roundtable this week, Army Maj. Gen. Simeon Trombitas, the head of Joint Task Force Haiti, said that only 850 servicemembers were left on the ground in Haiti. And the military task force there, he added, will dissolve at the end of this month.
“We will actually stand down the Joint Task Force on the 1st of June,” he said. “That is when I will take the last elements of United States Army South home and send those sister services personnel back to their home stations.”
What will remain behind: A U.S. Southern Command coordination cell, about eight people in total. They’ll stay on in Port-au-Prince to coordinate with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the lead U.S. government agency for the reconstruction effort. They’ll also help set up an upcoming exercise called New Horizons. It’ll involve about 500 soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard and other units, rotating in and out until the end of September.