Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mobility Airmen continue Haiti relief operations

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., get off a C-130 Hercules Jan. 15, 2010, after arriving at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The C-130, from the 2nd Airlift Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., brought the Soldiers to Haiti as part of the relief efforts ongoing in Haiti. U.S. Southern Command is deploying assets to Haiti to conduct search and rescue operations, damage assessments, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE Ill. (AFNS) -- Air Mobility Command Airmen have flown more than 470 sorties in support of Haiti relief efforts, rushing food, water and medical supplies to the people of Haiti.

In fact, since Jan. 13, AMC Airmen and aircraft have delivered nearly 2,250 tons of cargo and about 2,000 passengers to Haiti and evacuated nearly 2,000 American citizens from the earthquake-ravaged country.

Eight Little Rock AFB C-130 Hercules aircraft and their support elements are part of the massive Air Mobility Command airlift mission to support Haitian earthquake relief as part of Operation Unified Response.

Aircrews are flying missions to Haiti as part of an operation that has delivered supplies to the region.

Little Rock AFB's C-130 airlift mission has been crucial to the relief operation. An aircrew from the 41st Airlift Squadron was one of the first called Jan. 13 to support the relief operation. That aircrew left Little Rock AFB around midnight Jan. 13, then loaded personnel and equipment before dawn Jan. 14 at Biloxi-Gulfport International Airport, Miss., and delivered them to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the morning of Jan. 14. That crew is still forward deployed as part of the airlift effort.

"This is what we train to do," said Maj. Lewis Messick, the 41st Airlift Squadron director of operations. "Anytime we can be of assistance in cases like this, we're ready to do our job."

Airmen from Dover AFB delivered the Joint Communications Support Element to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, aboard a C-17 Globemaster III during the early morning hours of Jan. 16.

On the way to Haiti, the Air Force Reserve aircrew stopped at MacDill AFB, Fla., to load up the JCSE personnel and equipment.

The JCSE deploys ahead to provide early entry communication support for the regional combatant commands, Special Operations Command, and other agencies back in the U.S. The JCSE is set up within 72 hours to provide communication for the full spectrum of operations.

"We were prepared to do what we needed for this mission and there are more crews back at Dover on standby ready to be called upon," said Capt. Jim McCann, the C-17 aircraft commander.

"I have been watching to see if and when we would be called, and I knew that this might be our mission when I saw it in the system," Captain McCann said. "We train to do this and jumped at the chance to help the people of Haiti any way we can."

Three C-17 cargo jets assigned to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, left Jan. 19 for South Carolina to help in the relief effort. A fourth plane will leave Wednesday.

The teams will fly missions from Charleston AFB, S.C., to Haiti to bring in food, water and medical aid.

For the next two weeks, they will also evacuate those still in need of medical care.

Additionally, AMC continues to support relief efforts through transporting life saving medical supplies. Crews from Scott AFB loaded nearly 40,000 pounds of medical supplies into a C-17 bound for Haiti. Medical teams from across the command are posturing to provide medical assistance in Haiti.