DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) --
C-130s and aircrews from the 94th Airlift Wing provided airlift support Sept. 12, 2017, as part of the Air Force Reserve’s relief efforts following Hurricane Irma.
Reserve Airmen of the 700th Airlift Squadron delivered supplies and personnel to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, to assist relief and reconstitution operations at the installation, and in Southern Florida.
“Some of the challenges were the whole process of coordinating what materials and what cargo we were going to take down there first,” said Maj. Jonathan Sumner, 700th AS flight commander.
The more than 16,000 pounds of cargo delivered to Homestead ARB included ready-to-eat meals and infrastructure equipment. Civil engineer and public affairs personnel from Dobbins ARB also stayed behind as part of the relief operation.
“The loadmasters did a fantastic job of prioritizing what they were going to put on the aircraft,” Sumner said.
Once the aircraft was loaded and after it took off, a few challenge arose as a result of the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
The storm had damaged radars and other navigational aids pilots use on their approach to Homestead ARB. Damage from the hurricane also caused many of the local area air traffic controllers to be closed; however, considering all these setbacks, the crews at Homestead ARB made the most of their limited resources and made it a successful operation, Sumner said.
“When we landed there, usually you have a tower frequency, a ground frequency and a clearance frequency, and there was one guy controlling all that,” explained Sumner. “They were limited on some of their radar coverages on the way down there, but they were running things at Homestead [ARB] very smoothly. It all came together at the end there. But there was definitely a lot of moving parts to it.”
Aligning these moving parts was key to mission success, whether it was getting the necessary cargo loaded on the plane quickly, or calling reservists in to get the job done.
“I was glad the 94th [AW] was able to contribute so quickly to the relief efforts,” said Col. Jim Kellogg, 94th AW commander. “It’s a testament to our Citizen Airmen who dropped everything to commute in from two to three states away to answer the call and help those in need.”