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 McChord Airmen from the 7th Airlift Squadron completed their second humanitarian airlift mission in a week Oct. 9, delivering more than 87,000 pounds of cargo here in support of relief operations following the deadly 7.6-magnitude earthquake that shook the island Sept. 30.
 For the 7th AS Airmen, the flight to Indonesia came one week after a humanitarian mission to American Samoa. Their C-17 touched down at Pago Pago International Airport Oct. 2, delivering nine Federal Emergency Management Agency members and 17,000 pounds of communications equipment to the island in support of tsunami relief operations.
 
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Humanitarian airlift
7th Airlift Squadron Airmen and members of the 36th Mobility Response Squadron, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, off-load cargo from a C-17 Globemaster III from McChord Air Force Base, Wash., on a humanitarian mission on Oct. 9, 2009, at Minangkabau International Airport in Padang, Indonesia. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Eric Burks)
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McChord Airmen provide humanitarian airlift to Indonesia

Posted 10/11/2009   Updated 10/11/2009 Email story   Print story

    


by Staff Sgt. Eric Burks
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


10/11/2009 - PADANG, Indonesia  -- McChord Airmen from the 7th Airlift Squadron completed their second humanitarian airlift mission in a week Oct. 9, delivering more than 87,000 pounds of cargo here in support of relief operations following the deadly 7.6-magnitude earthquake that shook the island Sept. 30.

The cargo - a forklift and 10 pallets of fuel, food rations, water, and medicine - was eagerly received at Minangkabau International Airport by Airmen of the 36th Mobility Response Squadron, deployed from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and serving as members of an Air Force Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team that arrived Oct. 5.

"Talking with the Airmen, they really needed these supplies," said aircraft commander Capt. John Cortney, 7th AS. "They were running very short on food, water and medication.

It's very rewarding to know we can replenish critical supplies, first to our HARRT personnel, who in turn will then be able to deliver the much-needed medical supplies," he said.

The HARRT, which also includes members of 13th Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; the 374th Medical Group at Yokota Air Base, Japan; and the 36th Contingency Response Group and 36th Medial Group at Andersen, provides medical support to those affected by the earthquake.

"So far things are going really well," said Master Sgt. Todd Kneisley, 36th MRS.

His squadron is staged about an hour from the airport, he said, and their primary job is to support the medical mission.

"It's an incredible opportunity to put our training into practice," said Tech. Sgt. Andrea Inman, 36th MRS.

Helping in the local communities is another benefit, she added. "Kids are always coming up to talk with us, and want to know our names. We're trying to learn a little of their language and they're doing the same.

To see the smile on their faces, its well worth it," said the sergeant.

For the 7th AS Airmen, the flight to Indonesia came one week after a humanitarian mission to American Samoa. Their C-17 touched down at Pago Pago International Airport Oct. 2, delivering nine Federal Emergency Management Agency members and 17,000 pounds of communications equipment to the island in support of tsunami relief operations.

Following that mission, the aircraft and crew were staged for several days at Hickam, awaiting orders to either fly additional missions or return to McChord.

The aircrew, with the addition of Staff Sgt. Jerold Rico, a flying crew chief from Hickam's 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was back in the sky Oct. 7. The next stop would be Elmendorf, where the Airmen were to receive cargo for another humanitarian airlift mission.

"This was a great chance to work with another aircrew, and to be part of a unique and important mission," said Sergeant Rico, who was participating in his first humanitarian airlift flight.

Upon landing at Elmendorf later the same day, the C-17 was loaded with more than 58,000 pounds of supplies ultimately destined for Indonesia - seven pallets containing 6,200 gallons of fuel in 112 drums, and three pallets of medical supplies.

The fuel was for emergency generators in expeditionary hospitals supporting humanitarian relief efforts, said Maj. John Martin, Defense Energy Support Center Alaska at Elmendorf.

"It's our mission to support not only day-to-day operations, but contingencies such as this - it's what we train for," he said.

Once the cargo was secure, the crew was again airborne and headed to Andersen, the mission staging point. Crossing the international dateline, their aircraft touched down late in the evening Oct. 8.

The next afternoon at Andersen, the addition of a forklift and two pallets of much-needed food rations and water necessitated the removal of two of the fuel pallets from the aircraft prior to departure for Indonesia.

"It's all in a day's work," said Senior Airman Jonathan Duarte, 7th AS. "Mission details or requirements, large or small, can change at a moment's notice.

As Airman, we're trained to adapt and respond to any challenge, working to make each mission a success while keeping safety and sanity top priorities," he said.



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