HomeNewsArticle Display

437th AW crew provides quick-response relief following Hurricane Maria

Senior Airman Kenny Phonsyry, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs preflight checks at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Sept. 23, 2017. The 14th Airlift Squadron, 437th Airlift Wing, flew a mobile air traffic control tower, food and water to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

Senior Airman Kenny Phonsyry, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs preflight checks at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Sept. 23, 2017. The 14th Airlift Squadron flew a mobile air traffic control tower, food and water to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (AFNS) -- Members of the 14th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency completed a humanitarian mission in support of Hurricane Maria to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Sept. 23, 2017.

The mission provided the islands with an FAA mobile air traffic control tower with an instrument landing system and FAA air traffic controllers. Additionally, the mission delivered 13,000 pounds of food and water.

“This mission is providing humanitarian support to areas in the Virgin Islands affected by multiple hurricanes,” said Senior Airman Mark Darnell, 14th AS loadmaster. “Missions like this one are what I signed up for. Its an incredible feeling to bring relief to people in need.”

Hurricane Maria sustained winds in excess of 90 miles per hour when it passed west of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Sept. 21, causing flooding throughout the islands. The air traffic control tower at the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas was damaged due to the flooding.

“The existing tower sustained quite a bit of water damage, and at this point, it is not a safe environment for the controllers to utilize,” said Bruce Williams, FAA electronic engineer. “This tower facilitates air traffic control and directs aircraft on the ramp and airspace. The advantage of having a tower instead of sitting at a table tracking everything is the improved communication between controllers and pilots.”

Members of the 161st Air Refueling Wing, an Air National Guard unit from Phoenix, are ensuring operations continue in St. Thomas. They are working to load and unload aircraft and manage the airfield so aircraft can get in and out as efficiently as possible. FEMA staff members distributed food and water to those on the ground supporting relief efforts after cargo was unloaded from the C-17 Globemaster III.

“When people are in trouble we are going to help if we have the resources,” said Capt. Woody Sukut, 14th AS pilot. “We’re all people. If I was in a similar situation, I hope someone would be coming to deliver the same critical supplies.”

The 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron keeps two C-17s on standby in the event an emergency mission is needed. The 437th AMXS had the aircraft ready to fly less than three hours after being alerted of the mission.

"With all the recent hurricanes, we've been all hands on deck," said Darnell. "We're actively working to make sure relief supplies get to where they need to go."

Mobility Airmen work side-by-side with joint and international partners. Whether it's delivering humanitarian aid to people in need in the Virgin Islands or transporting coalition forces to dirt strips in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq, they get the job done together.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Ohio @AirNatlGuard, @178thWing and @179AW sent Disaster Relief Beddown Sets to Puerto Rico to aid earthquake relief… https://t.co/qTGlDasRdY
RT @AFResearchLab: Our 711th Human Performance Wing is studying Airmen's sleeping habits to improve performance and readiness to further th…
.@NellisAFB Airmen help prep an @AusAirForce C-17 Globemaster III to receive fire suppressant needed to aid in the… https://t.co/fRiXN5lNh0
RT @USSOCOM: SOF Truth III: Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced. It takes years to train operational units to the level of pr…
Comptrollers from @TeamTyndall received the Gen. Larry O. Spencer Special Acts and Services Award for assisting mor… https://t.co/TIclfKmU2B
RT @F22DemoTeam: Everyone has a history. Some have a legacy. We are excited to introduce Maj. Joshua ‘Cabo’ Gunderson, commander and pilot…
A KC-135 and three F-16s from @EdwardsAFB conduct a flyover above @levisstadium during the #NFCChampionship. Fly… https://t.co/0K7GcYO1Ia
RT @AirNatlGuard: "We can always count on the training, professionalism and drive of every Airmen at the @176thWing and the Alaska Rescue C…
RT @LukeAFB: Starting the week off with a F-16 slow-mo! ✈ #slowmomonday #aviation #jets #f16 #fighterjet #usaf #sunrise https://t.co/toXXl…
RT @AETCommand: Airmen from the 29th AMU check over the first MQ-9 Reaper to be transported through ferry flight, Jan. 8, 2020, on @Holloma
RT @DeptofDefense: The cold won’t slow down the @usairforce! The Air Force is working with the @usarmyccdc to test cold weather gear and e…
RT @USAFCENT: GROUND SUPPORT | USAF Airmen assigned to the 379th AEMS worked alongside the 746th EAS to load cargo onto & launch a C-130 at…
RT @USAFHealth: #DidYouKnow, Air Force Expeditionary Medicine brings leading-edge medicine directly into battle providing injured personnel…
As he served, let us serve. Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. https://t.co/SuE0D4UAnI
RT @AirNatlGuard: "We talk about lining ourselves up with our sister services and joint efforts to make sure we accomplish our mission; the…
RT @AFResearchLab: The year is 1947. The @usairforce officially broke the sound barrier with the Bell X-1 aircraft. This incredible feat w…
RT @theF35JPO: Congratulations to the @AusAirForce for completing their #F35 training mission at @LukeAFB! 🇦🇺 ⚡ Learn more 🔗 https://t.co/2…
RT @CENTCOM: A French Rafale conducts nighttime air refueling with a U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary…
RT @DeptofDefense: Jumping from a plane becomes a big step toward friendship. 301 soldiers and airmen from @USArmyReserve, @usairforce, and…
Explosive Disposal Ordnance (EOD) Airmen are often assigned to some of the most dangerous missions and perform tact… https://t.co/xYc9Ip5psn