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Reserve Citizen Airmen battle hurricanes on many fronts, save lives

Reserve Citizen Airmen battle hurricanes on many fronts, save lives

A National Guard convoy rolls out of the armory in St. Croix Island in order to provide aid to the local community, September 28, 2017. Hurricane Maria left many on the island without food or water. The National Guard provides food, water and security to the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Ferreira/Released)

Reserve Citizen Airmen battle hurricanes on many fronts, save lives

Master Sgt. Michael Lopez, 68th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, directs a vehicle off of a C-5M Super Galaxy, flown by Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 433rd Airlift Wing from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, after landing at Ceiba, Puerto Rico, Oct. 1, 2017. The Alamo Wing’s Reserve Citizen Airmen have flown 17 missions during the past month to aid hurricane recovery efforts in the United States and its territories to include Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño)


As tens of thousands of people continue to deal with the impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Reservists throughout the country are fighting the worst of Mother Nature’s wrath.

At the 433rd Airlift Wing located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Reservists delivered medical personnel, equipment and supplies to support relief efforts after the devastation that Hurricane Harvey left behind. These Reserve Citizen Airmen deployed a disaster aeromedical staging facility at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport within 48 hours of the direct impact of the storm.

The Alamo Wing delivered more than 521 tons of cargo to the areas affected by Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida. In addition, the 433rd AW transported a live body search and rescue team into Puerto Rico to support relief efforts there as well.

The 507th Air Refueling Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, sent Reservists from the 35th Combat Communications Squadron down to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, to aid in the needed communications systems support in the wake of Irma. A C-17 Globemaster III with 32,944 pounds of cargo including servers, radio equipment, power generation and voice communications were also delivered to the area.

One Reserve pilot from the 1st Aviation Standards Flight evacuated eight air traffic controllers out of Puerto Rico and transported them to Miami in order to set up a temporary air traffic control center just ahead of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico.

 Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 340th Flying Training Group’s 70th Flying Training Squadron at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, worked with Army teammates to load more than 600 pounds of relief supplies into a Reservist’s personal aircraft, which he delivered to citizens in Beaumont, Texas after Harvey. Maj. Matt Cummins, 70th FTS powered flight commander, was among 200 local pilots who flew personally owned aircraft to deliver more than 250,000 pounds of supplies to 30 airfields in the Harvey-affected areas.

The 913th Airlift Group at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, maintainers, who are integrated with active-duty Airmen, prepared C-130J Hercules aircraft for hurricane support, and 913th AG aerial porters loaded supplies onto the aircraft.

The 434th ARW at Grissom ARB, Indiana, was heavily involved with the Irma relief efforts at Homestead, deploying 60 personnel and sending more than six tons of cargo via a C-17 and two KC-135 Stratotankers. The cargo consisted of cases of water, meals ready-to-eat, sleeping cots and firefighting equipment.

The 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, supported the relief efforts for Harvey and Irma by performing multiple air refueling missions and carried relief cargo and personnel to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and MacDill AFB, Florida. During four flights, the wing transported approximately 300,000 pounds of supplies and equipment as well as 45 response personnel.

Reserve Citizen Airmen stationed at the 445th AW at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, flew 20 missions airlifting more than 600 passengers and 1.8 million pounds of cargo to Texas, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Martin and Honduras. The wing also supported New York Task Force One and Federal Emergency Management Agency operations.

In addition to airlift, 12 Reservists, including command post controllers, force support and civil engineer personnel, and security forces members deployed to Florida and Georgia to help with efforts there.

The 914th ARW at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York, provided aerial delivery support to the New York National Guard’s hurricane relief mission to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 30th Aerial Port Squadron loaded equipment and personnel onto a C-130 from the 152nd AW, Nevada. The 914th Civil Engineer Squadron traveled to Homestead ARB to assist in cleanup and damage assessment efforts after Irma. 

These Air National Guard and Reserve members loaded and transported Army National Guard members of the 105th Military Police from Buffalo, New York, to St. Croix to support the humanitarian relief efforts there in the aftermath of Irma and Maria.

The 452nd AMW from March ARB, California, launched several of its C-17s to aid relief efforts after Harvey and Irma. Additionally, they received a C-17 and a C-5M Super Galaxy from the 60th AMW, Travis AFB, California, loaded both aircraft and launched them successfully within a three-day span to aid relief efforts for Maria.

Team March members coordinated movement of aircraft, as well as cargo inspection and loading for five urban search and rescue teams’ task forces heading to areas recently ravaged by hurricanes and an earthquake. They also moved a U.S. Coast Guard quick reaction medical team from Travis AFB to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, as well as humanitarian airlift of 36 Department of Defense personnel and their families from Aguadilla to Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, in support of Maria relief efforts.

The 301st Fighter Wing, located at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, palletized, loaded, inspected and processed more than 765,000 pounds of supplies for the Red Cross, FEMA and Texas Task Force 1 in support of Harvey, Irma and Maria relief efforts. The fighter wing also processed 299 passengers across 47 missions to those disaster areas. Reservists also supported inbound units providing transportation and assistance in Texas.

Two C-130s and 18 Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 302nd AW, Peterson AFB, Colorado, provided airlift in support of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance operations in the eastern Caribbean areas.

The Reservists have flown airlift missions transporting cargo and supplies in support of the movement of Joint Task Force Leeward Islands’ base of operations from Puerto Rico to three Caribbean locations in the wake of Maria.

At Headquarters AFRC, Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, AFRC commander, activated the command’s Crisis Action Team.  Leaders from every functional area across the command gathered at Robins AFB, Georgia, and were on-call 24 hours a day while organizing the AFRC relief and response effort. 

These are just some of the life-saving AFRC operations happening in response to the various natural disasters that have occurred recently. For more stories, visit AFRC’s website at




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