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Little Rock Airmen provide humanitarian support to Haiti

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mercedes Taylor
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base dedicated three C-130Js to the delivery of humanitarian aid and disaster relief response for Haiti on Oct. 7, 2016, after the Category 4 hurricane tore through the island.

Currently, the U.S. Air Force is ferrying supplies to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew crippled access to the southwest region of the island and other hard-hit areas, washing out bridges and roads.

Only one aircraft from the 61st Airlift Squadron went to Haiti, and provided relief. Two aircraft from the 41st AS remained on standby to offer support.

The 61st Airlift Squadron, along with members from the 41st Airlift Squadron and other base agencies, transported personnel from the 621st Contingency Response Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Hurst, New Jersey, a HUMVEE and other supplies to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to support U.S. Aid operations.

Air Mobility Command is tasked with providing unrivaled rapid global mobility. For this response, Little Rock AFB and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Hurst worked together to ensure the supplies needed were transported to Haiti. These supplies were used to immediately treat individuals affected by the hurricane while other assisted recovery efforts.

“Humanitarian aid and disaster relief is a part of unrivaled airlift,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Angela Ochoa, 61st AS commander. “It is one of the most rewarding missions people can be a part of.”

No stranger to providing humanitarian support, Little Rock AFB served as a supply hub and aeromedical evacuation center during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The U.S. Air Force stands ready for future requests from U.S. Aid to provide further aid and assistance.

“It feels good to be in a position to be able to help other people,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. John Rebolledo, 61st AS C-130J pilot. “We have immense capability and flexibility to do so because of our assets.”

Little Rock AFB is the Home of Combat Airlift and the largest C-130 community, making the task to provide rapid global mobility a perfect fit.  The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the main transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas and is the prime aircraft used to support natural disaster relief missions.

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