Marines Touch Down In Haiti As Pentagon Confirms They’re “Ready” To Evacuate

 March 16, 2024

The situation in Haiti has taken a severe turn, prompting urgent actions from the United States military. The United States Southern Command is on high alert, prepared to evacuate American citizens from Haiti due to increasing violence and unrest, with a U.S. Marine Fleet-Anti-terrorism Security Team deployed to ensure the safety of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince.

According to Fox News, in a detailed briefing, Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of the U.S. Southern Command (US SOUTHCOM), revealed her team's readiness for a potential noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) from Haiti. This announcement came during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing held on Thursday. The situation in Haiti has become increasingly volatile, leading to widespread concerns about the safety of U.S. citizens in the country.

Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona brought the matter to light, questioning Gen. Richardson on the evacuation plans for Americans amidst the chaos. Richardson's response underscored a proactive approach by the U.S. military, highlighting previous operations to airlift embassy staff out of the troubled nation. However, the risk remains for those Americans who have not yet been evacuated, sparking a debate on the urgency of initiating a NEO. The deployment of a Marine Fleet-Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) to Haiti early Wednesday was a strategic move requested by the State Department. This action aims not only to enhance the embassy's security but also to establish a foundation for potential broader operations should the need arise. By reinforcing the security framework at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, the U.S. demonstrates its commitment to safeguarding its citizens and personnel amidst the turbulent political landscape of Haiti.

Marine security and embassy operations amid Haiti's chaos

Besides increasing security measures, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti continues its mission, albeit under challenging conditions. The embassy's ongoing operations focus primarily on aiding U.S. citizens in the country and facilitating Haitian efforts toward a peaceful political transition. This dual approach underscores the complexities of the situation, where diplomatic and security concerns intersect. Over the weekend, the U.S. military escalated its presence in Haiti, dispatching forces to ramp up the U.S. Embassy's security. This move also involved the airlift of non-essential personnel, signaling the seriousness of the unfolding crisis. Despite these measures, the Department of State's spokesperson, Matt Miller, revealed that there are currently no plans to rescue U.S. citizens who may find themselves stranded amid Haiti's near collapse.

Warnings have been consistently issued by the State Department, cautioning U.S. citizens against traveling to Haiti. These advisories reflect the deteriorating security situation and the high risks involved in venturing into the country at this tumultuous time. The emphasis on caution demonstrates a grave concern for the well-being of U.S. nationals and highlights the challenges facing American diplomatic efforts in Haiti.

Gen. Richardson speaks on readiness and complex missions

Gen. Laura Richardson elaborates on the readiness and strategic planning of US SOUTHCOM for the Haitian crisis. "As part of the wide range of contingency plans that US SOUTHCOM has, we are ready for a NEO activation if required and have other plans ready to go, as we always do, and keep those plans refreshed over and over. I think the two missions of increasing the security at the embassy and a little bit of my capability as well – expanding that – is the platform that we would use if we need to expand from there."

Despite the heightened security and evacuation preparations, the situation in Haiti remains precarious. The deployment of a Marine FAST team, detailed contingency planning, and sustained diplomatic efforts underscore a multifaceted approach to addressing the crisis. Nonetheless, the absence of current plans for a mass evacuation of U.S. citizens adds an element of uncertainty to an already tense scenario.

The unfolding situation in Haiti, characterized by violence and governmental instability, presents a significant challenge for the United States. Gen. Laura Richardson's testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, alongside actions taken by the U.S. military and Department of State, highlights a comprehensive effort to protect American interests and support Haitian stability. As the crisis evolves, the focus remains on ensuring the safety of U.S. citizens while contributing to a peaceful resolution in Haiti.


The United States Southern Command's preparedness for a potential evacuation in Haiti, alongside the deployment of a Marine Fleet-Anti-terrorism Security Team to safeguard the U.S. Embassy, encapsulates a robust response to the escalating violence and unrest. With Gen. Laura Richardson at the helm, US SOUTHCOM has demonstrated a proactive stance, airlifting embassy staff and contemplating wider operations if necessary.

Senator Mark Kelly's inquiries have brought further attention to the plight of Americans in Haiti, underscoring the seriousness of the situation. Despite the ongoing risks, the U.S. Embassy continues its critical work, aiding citizens and supporting Haitian-led efforts toward a peaceful political transition. The deployment of additional security forces over the weekend and the State Department's travel warnings add layers to the complex situation.

As developments unfold, the commitment to safeguarding American lives and ensuring a stable future for Haiti remains paramount.

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