HomeNewsArticle Display

C-17 crew members reflect on Philippine relief efforts

More than 670 Tacloban residents sit on board a C-17 Globemaster III before being evacuated to Manila following Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines Nov. 17, 2013. The C-17 is deployed from the 535th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to Clark Air Base in the Philippines in support of Operation Damayan, a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort. In addition to the safe transport of the passengers, the Hickam based crew also successfully delivered more than 100,000 pounds of cargo. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Ramon Brockington)

More than 670 Tacloban residents sit on board a C-17 Globemaster III before being evacuated to Manila following Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines Nov. 17, 2013. The C-17 is deployed from the 535th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to Clark Air Base in the Philippines in support of Operation Damayan, a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort. In addition to the safe transport of the passengers, the Hickam based crew also successfully delivered more than 100,000 pounds of cargo. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Ramon Brockington)

Displaced residents from Tacloban, Philippines, exit a C-17 Globemaster III after being evacuated to Manila Nov. 17, 2013 during Operation Damayan. The aircrew, deployed from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, aided in the successful rescue of 1,177 evacuees while flying humanitarian missions in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort following Super Typhoon Haiyan. The 535th Airlift Squadron C-17 is one of two deployed to the region. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Ramon Brockington)

Displaced residents from Tacloban, Philippines, exit a C-17 Globemaster III after being evacuated to Manila Nov. 17, 2013 during Operation Damayan. The aircrew, deployed from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, aided in the successful rescue of 1,177 evacuees while flying humanitarian missions in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort following Super Typhoon Haiyan. The 535th Airlift Squadron C-17 is one of two deployed to the region. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Ramon Brockington)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) --

Days after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippine's eastern seaboard Nov. 8, C-17 Globemaster III crews from the 535th Airlift Squadron here, began flying sorties in and out of the hardest hit areas as part of Operation Damayan.

Tacloban, the capital city of the Philippine Province Leyte, served as a staging area for international relief efforts, receiving more than 2,080 tons of food, water, machinery and other supplies from Pacific Air Force's aircraft. The aircraft also carried displaced people from Tacloban to Manila.

Capt. Michael Hank, of the 535th AS and the aircraft commander of the first C-17 to touch down in Tacloban, said this was an operation that will always stand out to him.

"Relief efforts like this are all about helping others out the way we would want to be helped in our time of need," Hank said. "Our C-17 crew was just a small part of the effort."

Hank and his crew flew 40 sorties in and out of the affected areas, evacuating thousands of people from the hardest hit areas to Manila, where evacuation centers were established.

"I can remember flying in and seeing (what seemed like) 20,000 people at the gates of the flight line waiting to get out of there," he said. "Many of the people we were flying out were women, children and the elderly, so it made it challenging sometimes."

Sometimes the crew members had to do things that they wouldn't normally do on other missions.   

"Me and a couple other guys on the crew had to carry some elderly women onto the aircraft; I couldn't speak their language and they couldn't speak mine," Hank said. "We sat them in their seats and buckled them in. The lady I carried looked at me with a smile on her face, put her hand on my face and kissed me on the cheek, and you just know that is a universal 'thank you.'"

Cargo pallets, heavy machinery, all-terrain vehicles, water purification units and first-aid supplies are just some of the relief items flown in to the area.

Senior Airman Dylan Porras, a C-17 loadmaster with the 535th AS, was on a different crew for Operation Damayan, but flew similar sorties in, out and around the country.

"It's great to see that the Air Force has the opportunity and manpower to help the Philippines, and the fact that we help makes me feel good to do what I do," Porras said. "Not everyone has the opportunity to participate in this (operation), so I'm glad I could help,"

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @HiAirGuard: Airmen from 154th Security Forces Squadron became first responders during a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear…
RT @US_SOCEUR: U.S. #airmen assigned to the 352d Special Operations Wing perform maintenance on a CV-22B #Osprey aircraft in Szolnok, #Hung
RT @HQ_AFMC: The @AFResearchLab s X-60A program achieved a key developmental #milestone with the completion of integrated vehicle propulsio…
RT @DeptofDefense: If you want to get there as fast as possible, don’t stop for gas. ⛽ That’s why the @usairforce relies on airmen like Tec…
RT @DeptofDefense: Press ▶️ to learn more about @USAFCENT, the command that provides air & space warfighting capabilities to help defeat v…
Airmen with the Puerto Rico Air National Guard provide support at the “tent cities” to support Task Force South and… https://t.co/zg2yT0LqpS
Even the most advanced aircraft in history requires extensive maintenance performed by Airmen on the ground to kee… https://t.co/Kpv8JlzYIc
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Throwback Thursday and #TankerThirstThursday are the same game. Throwing it back to last month when a KC-135 Stratotank…
If you thought the C-5M Super Galaxy was cool before, wait until you hear @RichardHammond describe it and its capab… https://t.co/jbYbdyHx5q
Air National Guardsmen from @105AW are on the ground in Puerto Rico with their counterpart, @PRNationalGuard, provi… https://t.co/ZwzhCEpWY4
RT @HAFB: Join us for the Hill Air Force Base 80th Anniversary Celebration from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Hill Aerospace Museum! A nu…
Ranges are crucial to the training and readiness of our warfighters. Get an inside look at how they prepare to figh… https://t.co/i5CnbpBGAw
.@cmsaf18 and his wingman, Senior Enlisted Advisor to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief Master Sergeant… https://t.co/UD69jCjHPz
#AirForce is always looking for ways to improve processes and patient health care is no different. @JBSA_Official h… https://t.co/ysEFjoXYCE
RT @USAF_ACC: You know what day it is. #WarthogWednesday! 🐗👏 #DYK the weapon on the #A10Thunderbolt II is a 30 millimeter GAU-8 and is des…
RT @SpaceForceDoD: Earlier today, @SpaceForceCSO Gen. John W. Raymond became the first ever Chief of Space Operations. @VP Vice President M…
C-17 Globemaster IIIs sit at @March_ARB, where their engines routinely receive special eco-washes to prevent corros… https://t.co/so1CEcJYsP
.@90thMissileWing's innovative #Airmen have developed a virtual care system. Learn how Airmen in the field can use… https://t.co/1EqZgBm0FR
RT @Mike_Pence: It was my privilege to swear-in our Nation’s first @SpaceForceCSO, General Jay Raymond! After serving our country for over…