McChord Airmen fly Haiti relief missions |
Posted 1/17/2010 Updated 1/17/2010
1/17/2010 - McCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNS) -- Airmen launched two McChord C-17 Globemaster III aircraft early Sunday in support of mounting relief efforts in Haiti, flying one aircraft to Langley AFB, Va., and the other to Pope AFB, N.C. From there, aircrews were to transport specialized teams and relief supplies into Haiti's Toussaint L' Ouverture International Airport.
On Saturday, McChord Airmen operating from the U.S. east coast completed an initial mission into Haiti by midday; two C-17s and four aircrews remain on alert at McChord for additional humanitarian relief missions.
Onboard aircraft that departed McChord Sunday were three-person Air Force Phoenix Raven Teams. Team members, made up of Air Force Security Forces, have specialized cultural and security training to provide enhanced in-flight and plane-side security at austere global locations. Raven teams will augment aircrew support and security for passengers in the event of any type of evacuation mission on the return to the United States.
Aircraft were flown by active duty Air Mobility Command Airmen and Air Force Reserve Command Airmen, respectively, of the 62nd Airlift Wing and 446th Airlift Wing. Both wings are permanently assigned to McChord.
McChord Airmen are contributing to Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE, a U.S. Southern Command-led humanitarian effort directly helping the Haitian people in the wake of Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake which ravaged the Caribbean nation, leaving thousands dead and many more homeless. Humanitarian missions are being conducted with great urgency, focused on saving lives and alleviating human suffering. By the end of the weekend, 9,000 to 10,000 American servicemembers will be in Haiti or afloat offshore. Red Cross officials said the death toll could reach 50,000.
McChord Airmen and the C-17 have a long history of supporting humanitarian operations. In preparation for Hurricane Gustav in 2008, McChord Airmen flew members of the 615th Contingency Response Wing and 15,500 pounds of their equipment to New Orleans International Airport in New Orleans, La., into the heart of coastal areas destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In October 2009, McChord transported Federal Emergency Management Agency members and 17,000 pounds of cargo to American Samoa in support of tsunami relief operations.