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Dyess Airmen support Haiti relief efforts

by Airman 1st Class Robert Hicks
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

1/26/2010 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Six Dyess Air Force Base C-130 Hercules aircraft and aircrews supported relief efforts Jan. 17 following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti Jan. 12.

Since the disaster struck, Dyess AFB aircrews have flown to various bases on the East Coast to pick up fuel, relief workers and cargo bound for Haiti.

Dyess AFB crews have completed more than 10 missions to the Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport in Haiti, said Capt. Wes Sparks, a 317th Airlift Group pilot.

"I'm proud to see the majority of the C-130s at Pope AFB (N.C.) are from Dyess," said Capt. Angela Stephens, a 317th Airlift Group navigator. "It's good to know that the 317th AG can be called upon to get the job done."

So far, Dyess AFB Airmen have delivered more than 138,100 pounds of cargo including 10 Humvees, four "Gator" six-wheeled-vehicles, two all-terrain vehicles, one trailer, one power cart, one water pump and two pallets of Meals, Ready to Eat.

Dyess AFB aircrews also transported more than 60 people from the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., to help with peacekeeping missions.

"I'm proud to be an American," said Tech. Sgt. Chris Minnifield, of the 317th Airlift Group. "The fact that we're helping is near and dear to my heart. The United States is behind them and trying to move as swiftly as possible to help out."

Once the C-130s unloaded at the Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport, crews added seats so evacuees could board the aircraft for transport to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., where they could reunite with family members.

"I'm proud to be in America," said a Haitian evacuee. "The Air Force is doing a good job and is doing a great thing for the island."

"The men and women of the 317th AG are proud to continue efforts in support of the Haitian disaster relief," said Col. Dan Dagher, the 317th AG commander. "Hundreds, if not thousands of lives, to say nothing of the quality of life and rule of law, depend directly on the U.S. government's ability to airlift people, supplies and order into that country as soon as possible."

"Dyess AFB personnel, from both the airlift group and bomb wing provide a much-needed response via the transport of supplies, equipment and personnel," Colonel Dagher said. "These same Airmen helped the Haitian government bring the airport back up to operational status within 24 hours of the earthquake, and have participated in evacuation and search and rescue operations in order to prevent human suffering and additional loss of life. There can be no greater tribute to the Air Force and airpower than these efforts."

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