Air Force supports relief mission in Guam

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Air Force C-5 Galaxy aircrews have flown more than 58 missions to deliver 1,200 tons of Federal Emergency Management Agency equipment and supplies to Guam after Typhoon Pongsona hit the island on Dec. 8.

The aircraft also ferried more than 45 people, mostly family members, from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, here, where they will stay for an unspecified time as recovery efforts continue on the island.

Electrical and water systems were badly damaged at Andersen, and as a result, some island residents chose to leave.

Typhoon Pongsona's eye passed over Andersen in the late afternoon of Dec. 8 and took more than two hours to completely pass before the full force of the typhoon devastated the base and the surrounding areas.

Civil engineer crews from Andersen, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, are working non-stop to return the base to pre-typhoon conditions.

Obstacles facing the engineers include mangled trees and debris scattered all over the base, downed power poles and lines, and scarce water. These all make the teams' job even more challenging, said Tech. Sgt. Aubrey Goff, an electrician from the 3rd Civil Engineer Squadron at Elmendorf.

Meanwhile, generators have been flown in to provide power to various facilities on base, as well as the base water wells. And until power is restored, the generators are the only sources of power for the entire base.

We're forecasting a lengthy outage," said Master Sgt. David Daniel, 36th CES power production shop superintendent. "We're all working 24-seven to keep the more than 70 generators on base up and running."

"We learned some lessons with Typhoon Chata'an (last July)," said Maj. Robert Gibson, Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. "Fortunately we learned these things on a smaller scale. Immediately after the response, we began coordinating the things that would be needed: storage space for relief supplies, vehicles, billeting for aid workers.

"But, no one was completely prepared for the storm's force," he said. "Now many agencies are working together to get aid to the communities." (Courtesy Pacific Air Forces News Service)