Staff Sgt. Joshua Wishmyer signals to his brother Staff Sgt. John Wishmyer as he moves a pallet of boxed meals at the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing based in Martinsburg W.Va., Nov. 1, 2012. The 167th is serving as a staging area for disaster relief supplies which will then be transported throughout West Virginia as needed. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle)
by Staff Sgt. Sherree Grebenstein
167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard
11/2/2012 - MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AFNS) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is using the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing base here as a staging area to push out much-needed storm relief supplies to Mountain State residents hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.
Airmen and soldiers from the West Virginia National Guard are working in tandem to ensure the emergency supplies trucked in from around the country will be distributed to those in need. Operations spun up yesterday morning at the base with approximately three-and-a-half million liters of water and 600,000 self-heating emergency meals, as well as infant and toddler supplies slated to be delivered in the coming days.
"We will maintain 80 to 100 truckloads (of supplies]) here at all times," said Joe D'Angelo, FEMA's incident management assistance team logistics chief for region III.
D'Angelo said he expects the base to be used as a staging area through at least next week.
Two companies from the West Virginia Army National Guard's 77th Brigade are tasked with distributing the needed supplies to Mountain State residents. Citizen soldiers from the 1201st Forward Support Company and Delta 230th FSC will take to the roadways to drop off the supplies.
"We're going to turn them into ice truckers," said Army Master Sgt. Keith Bibb, property book officer for the 77th Brigade.
As of yesterday evening, the 120 citizen soldiers assigned to the mission were awaiting their first marching orders to begin distribution of the supplies.
"We're loaded, cocked and ready to go," Bibb said. "We are staged, waiting for our mission."