Trained for War, the 3,400 Troop Brigade has a Different Mission in Haiti
By Bill Whitaker(CBS) At 6:00 a.m. in Port-au-Prince, troops from the 82nd Airborne wade into the heart of desolation - handing out 55-pound bags of rice to the desperately hungry. Afternoons, they're at it again.
CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports they've been doing this every day for two weeks -- and every day it's a contact operation.
After every delivery 28-year-old Captain Edward Kim from Tacoma, Washington and his men assess what went right, and what went wrong.
"How do we get better at this," Capt. Kim asked.
How to Help Victims
Food distribution is just one of the 82nd's missions. The 3,400 troop brigade has a huge footprint in this crumbled capital: treating almost 500 wounded and sick, flying 50 of those worse off to the U.S. medical ship Comfort; supplying and feeding a sprawling tent city of 50,000 displaced citizens. It's a round-the-clock operation.
They're on the front line of the massive clean-up and fixing the destroyed power grid - America's mighty military arm extending a helping hand.
"It's rewarding to see people smile," said Staff Sgt. Adam Farmer. "And actually know that a little bit of something you're doing can change someone's day."
Complete Coverage: Devastation in Haiti
Helping can be hazardous, but rewarding.
"I thank God for the American People is coming in Haiti, try to help Haitians," said Pierre Dubrezil an earthquake victim.
"We're the face of the Army," said Sgt. Brian Robinson. "You see an 82nd patch, and you know the Army's out there making a difference.
Making a difference and saving lives.