MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, WA — Two McChord aircrews are on alert status and ready to respond quickly to various relief scenarios related to Hurricane Gustav.
“McChord Airmen are ready to respond to our nation’s call with the most capable combat airlift aircraft in our nation’s history,” said Col. Jeffrey Stephenson, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. “The C-17 can quickly bring specialized response teams and massive volumes of relief capability and supplies into airfields with limited support capability. We’re poised to respond.”
C-17 crews are on standby and positioned to launch in three hours or less from notification. The C-17’s capabilities allow for movement of people and cargo, and for aeromedical specialists to provide ICU-level care in flight when required.
McChord aided in the relief efforts of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, evacuating more than 1,100 people from New Orleans and delivering more than 550 tons of equipment, water, food and medical supplies.
UPDATE: Two C-17s departed before dawn Saturday in support of Gustav response operations. Airmen flew to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to pick-up specialized response teams and equipment and await the order to move forward into affected areas.
Historically, McChord Airmen have been on the lead of many humanitarian efforts, most recently including relief to the country of Georgia, Americans fleeing Lebanon in 2006, and in support of the Hurricane Katrina response efforts in 2005.
UPDATE: McChord Airmen are returning today (Saturday, August 30) after completing the first of two missions related to the nation‚Äôs Hurricane Gustav response.
McChord Airmen deployed two C-17 combat airlift aircraft to Travis AFB, Calif. early this morning. The first aircrew deployed a contingency response team and their equipment from Travis AFB directly into New Orleans. These Airmen return to McChord this afternoon.
The second aircrew deployed to Kelly AFB, Texas to transport additional response teams and equipment onward to Little Rock AFB, Ark.