20th Air Force deployed aircrew and support personnel from its three bases to provide relief efforts in hurricane-stricken areas of Texas and Louisiana Saturday morning
ABOVE: F.E. WARREN AFB, Wyo. – Airman 1st Class Amanda Orahood, 40th Helicopter Flight member from Malmstrom AFB, Mont., fills out maintenance forms after landing here Saturday. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Steven Goetsch) BELOW: F.E. WARREN AFB, Wyo. – Two UH-1N “Huey” helicopters depart here Saturday. The two helos are part of a 6-helo package sent from 20th Air Force in support of Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Josh Edwards)
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F.E. WARREN AFB, Wyo. – Air Force Space Command’s 20th Air Force deployed aircrew and support personnel from its three bases to provide relief efforts in hurricane-stricken areas of Texas and Louisiana Saturday morning.
“We responded with a substantial effort to assist in the relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina,” said Maj. Gen. Frank Klotz, 20th Air Force commander. “Our support to assist in Hurricane Rita relief efforts will be no different. We are sending helicopters and some of our very best Airmen to provide support to the relief effort in any way we can.”
Six UH-1N “Huey” helicopters, two each from F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., Minot AFB, N.D., and Malmstrom AFB, Mont., as well as approximately 70 aircrew and support personnel were sent to assist with search and rescue, and relief efforts.
The four helicopters from both the 40th Helicopter Flight at Malmstrom and 54th Helicopter Flight at Minot landed Friday at F.E. Warren, in preparation for Saturday’s departure.
The support personnel are made up of maintentance, logistics and medical Airmen who are excited to be a part of this relief effort.
“I didn’t get a chance to deploy to JTF Katrina, and it really got to me,” said Airman 1st Class Chris Smith, 54th HF member. “I’m really excited I get the chance to go now. Even though you serve your country by wearing the uniform, it’s great to see you’re helping people, face to face.”
The teams are tasked to provide a variety of services, which may include search and rescue or transporting personnel, equipment and supplies.
“I don’t know if we will be tasked with any search and rescue missions, but we are ready because that’s what we train to do,” said Airman 1st Class Amanda Orahood, 40th HF member. “It would be great to use that training for the real thing.”
The teams are better prepared because of lessons learned from JTF Katrina. Preparation went very smoothly, said Airman Orahood.
“We were ready to go – literally just waiting on the ‘go’ order,” she said.
A final mission brief was given Saturday morning before the team departed for their first stop at Dyess AFB, Texas. Their final operating location is yet to be determined.