Leader Blues

Saturday, January 23, 2010

TOP STORY >> More C-130s sent to Haiti

Eight C-130s and more than 40 airmen from four squadrons at Little Rock Air Force Base have flown 14 missions and delivered 111,000 pounds of relief supplies since last week as part of the massive Air Mobility Command airlift mission to support Haitian earthquake relief as part of Operation Unified Response.

According to the air base public affairs office, aircrews and C-130s from the 41st, 50th, 53rd and 61st Airlift Squadrons are flying missions to Haiti as part of an overall Air Force operation that has delivered approximately 2,250 tons of supplies to the region.

In addition, a C-130 from the Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing left Friday with an air-intelligence squadron to analyze conditions on the ground.

An aircrew from the 41st Airlift Squadron was one of the first called Jan. 13 to support the Haiti relief operation.

That crew loaded personnel and equipment before dawn Jan. 14 at Biloxi-Gulfport International Airport, Miss., and flew them to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, the morning of Jan. 14.

That crew is still deployed as part of the Herculean airlift effort.

“This is what we train to do,” said Maj. Lewis Messick, 41st Airlift Squadron director of operations. “Any time we can be of assistance in cases like this, we’re ready to do our job.”

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, 19th Airlift Wing command chief, lauded the motivation of LRAFB aircrews and the impact they are having on Haiti relief operations.

“They feel that they can’t get in there enough. They are chomping at the bit to do what it takes to take care of people and save lives,” he said. “They all want to make a difference.”

“The aerial delivery they have provided is the difference between life and death,” he added. “Besides tangible food and water, we are providing hope.”

Seven members of the Air National Guard’s 123rd Intelligence Squadron left the air base on Friday morning on the first leg of their journey to Haiti to support the disaster-relief effort.

The squadron left in a C-130 from the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing at the base.

The team’s mission is to analyze imagery from full-motion video taken from fixed-wing aircraft conducting aerial reconnaissance over the affected areas
of Haiti.

The unit will assist with force protection for the troops on the ground through identification of areas with rioting or mass crowding of displaced Haitians.

The unit will also be responsible for analyzing infrastructure, such as roadways, sea and aerial ports to help identify their capabilities to accept incoming support.

This is the first mission for the Arkansas National Guard in support of operations in Haiti.