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Homeland Security

Air Force conduct round the clock ops to deliver hurricane relief

by Linda Welz
452nd Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

11/2/2012 - MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Airmen and transport aircraft from across the nation converged here Nov. 1 to begin part of the Air Force's movement of relief supplies and equipment to the beleaguered areas of New York and New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Crews from 12 active-duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command bases descended upon March ARB to pick up passengers, equipment and supplies to deliver to Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y.

The passengers and 632 short tons of cargo, including 69 vehicles belonging to the Southern California Edison utility company, will assist in restoring power and providing humanitarian assistance to the stricken region.

The 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March ARB, is providing three C-17 Globemaster IIIs and dozens of aircrews for the around-the-clock operations. The wing is also providing the ground support - aerial porters and airlift controllers - to process and load cargo.

"I am extremely proud of our aerial porters, logistics planners, aircrews, and airlift controllers," said Col. Samuel Mahaney, 452nd AMW commander. "Our Citizen Airmen, members of the Air Force Reserve, have responded gallantly to this national crisis. They are working at the highest operations tempo to ensure the delivery of this essential equipment in the fastest possible time."

Relief flights from California linked-up with operations at Westover ARB, Massachusetts, the nation's largest Air Force Reserve base.

Westover is the staging point for Federal Emergency Management Agency relief efforts. Before Hurricane Sandy swept over the Eastern Seaboard, 77 tractor-trailers arrived at the Reserve base loaded with meals, cots, bottled water, generators, tarps and other emergency supplies.

"This event is unique because of the number of trailers and the FEMA presence, but this is also another facet of what we do best - stage and move massive amounts of cargo anywhere in the world," said Lt. Col. James Bishop, chief of public affairs at Westover.

This is the third time the base has been used as a staging point for FEMA Region I, which encompasses all of New England, said Bob Perreault, chief of emergency management for Westover's 439th AW.

Westover was chosen as the staging site because of its size, location and support network.

"This operation demonstrates the strength of our air mobility system," said Col. James Finney, 452nd AMW vice commander. "By leveraging our Reserve component, in partnership with our active-duty airmen, we are able to provide rapid response to national requirements. This is total force global mobility at its finest."

Other Air Force Reserve Command units participating in the relief effort include:

The 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, sent a C-17 and crew. The 433rd AW, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, is providing a C-5B and crew. The 439th AW, Westover ARB, Mass., provided a C-5B.

(Editor's note: Several AF Reserve Public Affairs offices contributed to this story)

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