If you are looking for Team Rubicon, click here
This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

TR Operations Cease in Haiti

Team Rubicon operations have ceased inside the nation of Haiti. The leadership within Rubicon has come to the conclusion that Team Rubicon has completed its mission of bridging the gap between the earthquake and large aid agency response. As of 1900 hours local, TR2 began travelling back to the US, with a small contingent of volunteers remaining behind to continue working at CDTI Hospital (under no affiliation with Team Rubicon).

Organizations such as the UN and Red Cross have finally reached full speed in their logistics and medical employment; as such, Team Rubicon can no longer operate within the scope of its mission in Haiti. Food and water are being delivered, acute and traumatic injuries have been treated and hospitalized, and operating rooms are working at capacity. The continued employment of small, self-sustaining Team Rubicon elements is no longer a cost effective solution; our dollars spent per life saved will now exceed large NGOs for the first time since the earthquake.

Now that operations have ceased, Team Rubicon has much to do. We have determined to continue developing and perfecting our model of deploying small, rapid-response, autonomous medical teams into afflicted areas. We want to do this the right way. As a result, we are going to grow slowly, without sacrificing our vision or our mission; and we hope that you will follow and support us on our journey. We want you, our donors and supporters, to feel like you have a vested interest in how we respond to disasters. We believe that running this organization with transparency will give you greater satisfaction as you support us with your hard earned money during future disasters.

Here is what you can expect from us in the coming weeks:

  • An OpEd published in a major US newspaper explaining our methodology and our results.
  • A case study submitted to Washington Think-Tanks with the aim of influencing large NGOs to adopt some of our concepts.
  • A thorough After Action Report, detailing what we did from start to finish, what went right, what went wrong, what we learned and how we are going to improve. We will publish this AAR on our website, and we will circulate it in a newsletter to you via email.
  • A professionally produced YouTube trailer from Fifth Man Films and Third Story Films, in association with TitleTen Films, which will be followed by a full documentary.  A revenue sharing agreement has been reached which directs all of TitleTen's profits (net legal expenses) to Team Rubicon.
  • An organizational flow chart, detailing how we plan to develop, equip and staff Rubicon teams on both the East and West Coasts.
Additionally, as the new President of Team Rubicon, I feel a fiduciary obligation to offer you the following. Our donors pledged and donated their hard earned money to Team Rubicon to support our operation in Haiti. Many of you donated, thinking that it was just going to be myself, Jeff Lang, William McNulty and Craig Parello, and then watched in amazement as this organization grew beyond expectations. Because we have raised more money than we have used in Haiti, I would like to offer you the portion of your unused money back, in case you would like to redirect to an agency still working in Haiti. We feel that it is important for you to know that we will never waste nor misappropriate your money, and this is how we'll prove it (ever heard of an NGO, or the government for that matter, returning a budget surplus??). The details of how we will do this will be sent in a newsletter this week, and it will be optional.

That said, please know that we plan to grow. Haiti has been a learning ground from Day One, and we know that we are on to something. We WILL be among the first NGOs with boots on the ground in future disasters; and we will arrive better equipped, better trained and more experienced. However, the one area we appear to have an NGO monopoly on, is that we will employ teams led by individuals who are intelligent, decisive and PRONE TO ACTION.

I hope you decide to continue following and supporting us on our journey as we seek to shift the paradigm in disaster response. I will leave you with this, "If a disaster struck your city on a scale such as Port au Prince, who would you want to come save you in the initial 24 hours?"

-Jake Wood
President, Team Rubicon


  1. I'm incredibly moved that y'all would offer to to return the money....unprecedented is a word that is overused these days, but your offer truly is.

    But I'd prefer you kept it for either your own selves, or for your future endeavors, which I know will be amazing.

    God bless each of you, always, and thanks for allowing us to help.

  2. Jake, I have complete faith and trust in you, and in whomever you choose to work with you. I do not want one cent back. In fact, I will be making a small donation to TR on a regular basis, knowing with absolute confidence that it will be used for good. God has blessed you with such gifts, and it's beautiful to see you use them, and for such good to come from that. You are an awesome young man, and your parents must be bursting with pride. Thank you, and thanks to everyone on Team Rubicon, including those on the home front. You are a shining example to the world.

  3. My husband and I feel honored that we were able to participate in our own small way at the beginning of Team Rubicon. We don't want anything back, it was given to be used as needed because the need was so dire.

    All big things come from small beginnings. Thanks to everyone who participated and will participate in the future. Go Team Rubicon!

  4. It was an honor to help in whatever small way I could. You were there, you did a great job.

    I think you showed how resilient an American soldier or Marine could be. No better friend...

    I wouldn't limit yourself. I can see a future for Midwest, Texas, and South coordination teams. These are places that either get hit, or help when others get hit.

    I see a need for follow up teams. Say a sanitation team, which would drill the men in DP camps into shape, putting up tents, digging latrines. Or maybe just employee them to put up the tents, etc.

    You've done a truly unique thing in the civilian world. You built, funded, deployed, and maintained a vital service. The blend of military and first responder teams, plus the locally employed. You've blazed a somewhat unique trail.

    Didn't hurt that Gods grace was shining down you during this time.

  5. Don't refund my donation, keep it, use it.

    Also, found this yesterday. Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest might want to read it.


    A sample ...

    In the reasonably near future, perhaps within our lifetimes and quite possibly as soon as tomorrow, an earthquake will strike Portland with roughly the same force felt this month in Port-au-Prince.

    But while the Jan. 12 Haitian quake lasted less than 40 seconds, the shaking in Portland will continue for at least four minutes. Portland will feel a quake with a strength, duration and destruction never before experienced in the developed Western world.

    Our cataclysm will begin 75 miles off the Oregon coastline. The ocean floor will split, sending shock waves racing under the water as fast as 17,000 mph. Those shock waves, felt first as a rumble, will slam into Portland in 30 seconds. The rattling will grow into a pulsing undulation that will repeatedly shove the ground up and down as much as 6 feet.

    Landslides will ensue in the West Hills, sending mansions crashing on top of each other. Several of the 10 bridges across the Willamette River will collapse—the Steel Bridge, Sellwood Bridge and Marquam Bridge, most likely—and the rest will be impassible. Big Pink and other office towers will sway so violently their granite and glass façades will shear off and crash into the street, piling rubble up 4 feet deep. The Multnomah County Courthouse will tumble. Underground gas, power and water lines will be pulverized. The soil beneath the Portland International Airport will temporarily turn to soup.

  6. I vote for a Team led by Jack Bauer, with the rest of the team consisting of: Jesse Ventura, Tom Beringer, Sly, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Bourne, Doc Griz, and the point man from Tears of the Sun. Wood, you're finally out classed...

  7. We don't want anything back. It was an honor to help in any way we could. We wish we could do more. Save the extra for the next time you are called upon to help, we will give what we can then too.
    You should also keep an eye on the middle of the country. I saw a report that the New Madras fault is over due for a quake. That is in the Southern Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas area.
    It was such a blessing to see Team Rubicon in action. You all were amazing.

    Mark and Jennifer Taylor

  8. Well done Team Rubicon! You not only were successful and committed to your mission, you showed, through this blog, an accountibilty to your mission, those you served, and to those who supported your efforts. You answered the call to serve others with a willingness and determination from which many can learn. Yours is an organization I will be proud to continue to support!

  9. Team Rubicon is a great team on a great mission at a time when transparency and straight talk have honor and value. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Since being made aware of your efforts I have followed your blog and shared your stories via my blog, twitter and my email network. TR is a story worth spreading. Good luck with your ongoing efforts.

  10. Amazing job Team Rubicon! It's amazing how an idea between a few people can turn into a paradigm shifting operation. Keep up the great work. I'm looking forward reading the full AAR and following your progress in the future.

  11. I went over and looked at Third Story Films' website. I am VERY impressed with their work! From the PSA "Office Rage" to the Washington DC bid for the Superbowl, it was great. Good choice, guys!

    California Girl

  12. I certainly don't want any money back, either. I donated knowing that you'd use the money the best way possible and I trust your judgement. Besides, I've also given to Haiti through my church.

  13. Me too, keep the funds, they'll be another need soon, sadly, I'm sure.

    Cyndy in Oregon

  14. My 7 year old son,Griffin, donated his money not expecting to get it back. He knows your incredible work will be needed somewhere else, at another time.
    Please keep it and he looks forward to giving more in the future.
    God bless you all, you are a gift to all human kind.
    Angelina (the mom)

  15. Success, and a job well done! In just days, you guys took a great concept from imagination to action... and then did it again. I look forward to reading the AAR.
    Thanks for the refund offer, but please keep the cash. Just remember to keep us in the loop. We're pulling for guys, so when in doubt ask the "comments" section.
    One request: can we get an update on Brother Jim?

  16. It was given to help a great need -- please consider my donation an investment in your future plans.