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McChord role in Haiti relief grows

62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

1/18/2010 - MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The role of McChord Airmen in Haiti relief operations continued to grow Jan. 18 with the dispatch of a third C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at 8 p.m. The aircraft departed for Charleston AFB, S.C., to take on bottled water for immediate transport into Haiti's Toussaint L' Ouverture International Airport. Airmen were then to airlift evacuees back to the United States.

Two additional aircrews were transported aboard the C-17 Jan. 17. The Airman will fly additional C-17s from Charleston in support of ongoing relief operations. Each augmented aircrew includes an aircraft commander, two pilots and two loadmasters.

Sunday morning, McChord Airmen launched two C-17s to take on specialized teams and relief supplies separately from Langley AFB, Va., and Pope AFB, N.C. before flying into Haiti and joining humanitarian evacuation efforts.

Three-person Phoenix Raven Teams from McChord were dispatched aboard the first two C-17s on Sunday. Team members, made up of Air Force Security Forces, have specialized cultural and security training to provide enhanced in-flight and plane-side security at austere global locations. Raven teams augment aircrew support and security for passengers during evacuation missions.

On Saturday, McChord Airmen operating from the U.S. east coast completed an initial mission into Haiti by midday. One C-17 and an additional aircrew remain on alert at McChord and is expected to depart early Jan. 18.

"The United States Air Force is in dedicated, close coordination with other U.S. government agencies and international partners to ensure necessary relief supplies, equipment and personnel get where they are most needed in Haiti," said Col. Kevin J. Kilb, 62nd Airlift Wing commander.

"McChord Airmen are proud to be part of this humanitarian effort," said Colonel Kilb. "Our ability to conduct these operations is due to the partnership and expertise of both the Active duty and Reserve Airmen here at McChord."

Aircraft are flown by active duty Air Mobility Command Airmen and Air Force Reserve Command Airmen, respectively, of the 62nd AW and 446th Airlift Wing here.

McChord Airmen and the C-17 have a long history of supporting humanitarian operations. In preparation for Hurricane Gustav in 2008, McChord Airmen flew members of AMC's 615th Contingency Response Wing and 15,500 pounds of their equipment to New Orleans International Airport in New Orleans, La., into the heart of coastal areas destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In October 2009, McChord transported Federal Emergency Management Agency members and 17,000 pounds of cargo to American Samoa in support of tsunami relief operations.

The C-17 is the most advanced strategic airlifter in the world, capable of operating from austere airfields as short as 3,500 feet and being refueled in-flight. The C-17 can transport passengers and equipment, with a maximum cargo capacity of 170,900 pounds. When configured, it can also carry up to 36 medical litters. In addition to airlift capability, the C-17 is a premier airdrop platform, allowing Airmen to conduct conventional or Global Positioning System-aided precision airdrop of equipment and supplies.

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