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1:45pm Disaster in Haiti Update: Southern Command Troops on Alert for Possible Mission

The head of the U.S. Southern Command says thousands of troops could be sent to Haiti to aid the U.N.'s earthquake relief efforts. Gen. Douglas Fraser says a brigade, which consists of between 3,500 and 5,000 troops, is being put on alert along with other units. He also says a Marine amphibious ship with an expeditionary unit of 2,000 Marines could land in the coming days. Elements of an Air Force special operations wing are expected to arrive this afternoon. They're to help with air traffic control and airfield operations at the airport in the capital, Port au Prince. Meanwhile, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is expected to arrive off the coast tomorrow, with more ships on the way. In a statement, Southern Command says it's “well versed at providing humanitarian assistance in the region,” having led 14 major relief missions in the last five years, including a mission to Haiti after major storms in September 2008. (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)