PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- In a brief ceremony here April 13, Combined Joint Task Force – Haiti’s commander, Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman officially named his compound Camp Cintron.
The camp is named after Army Lt. Col. Norberto Cintron, an engineer with the task force who played a pivotal role in CJTF-Haiti’s mission to assist in providing safety and security and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance here.
“This is a great name and a great honor for a great soldier,” Coleman stated. “If there was one most important person in this humanitarian effort, it was Cintron.
“This person did wonders not only for us but for the Haitian people,” he continued addressing the significance of name the camp after one of its own. “I would like to able to go to every place he has made an impact and name them Cintron.”
In response to this honor, engineer found himself humbled.
“I am left breathless and without words,” he explained. “I am very honored and privileged. It is more than I think I deserve.”
Addressing Cintron’s worth, Coleman reflected on one of his first missions for the engineer and stated that his drive to do well for the people was his main contribution to the command.
“I saw that the Haitians [near the headquarters] had to walk long distances to get water. I grabbed Cintron and asked if it was possible for us to run our water line out to them. He said, ‘yes sir we can.’ I asked him how long it would take and he said ‘24 hours.’
“I thought he was going to say days or weeks to get it out there but he said 24 hours,” Coleman continued.
“That night, through the night you could hear the bulldozers working and in under 24 hours they had water.”
Since that first project, Cintron was the main focal point for cleaning up the national prison, refurbishment of both CJTF-Haiti’s and Marine Air Ground Task Force-8’s compounds, refurbishment of the Killick Coast Guard Base, coordinating of five wells in the community, and the procurement of $300 thousand worth of medical supplies for the Haitian community.
“Just being here serving in this mission, being able to help in building a better quality of life for the Haitian people and making things better here is what we are all about,” Cintron stated. “I think this sentiment is shared by all of us. I didn’t do this by myself. We have a lot of good officers and soldiers helping me out.”
When describing Cintron, Coleman had two words, “Can Do.”
“His drive is phenomenal,” he explained. “There is not one thing that I asked him to do that he didn’t do. He had even started the process of getting electricity for the camp and the community.”
According to Cintron, the toughest part of his job was realizing that there is only so much he could accomplish in three months.
“There is such a great need here,” he said. “Accepting that there is only so much you can do for people is extremely tough.”
During the ceremony, attended by the Army General James Hill, U.S. Southern Command’s commander, the engineer was also presented with the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his achievements while here.
The medal wasn’t the best part of the job for the engineer though.
“The best part of the job was the satisfaction of seeing someone come up to the water well to pick up water and seeing their smile,” he explained. “That is the most satisfying part, being able to help people.”
Within days of the ceremony, Cintron returned to the states to deal with personal health issues.
“Hopefully this presentation will also act as a motivator for him, give him the encouragement and the will to get through,” Coleman stated.