By Air Force Airman 1st Class Jason J. Brown
Special to American Forces Press Service
Airmen and soldiers assigned here (Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA) and at Fort Lee, Va., loaded nearly 70 tons of gear and supplies and more than 70 soldiers aboard two C-17 Globemaster III transports Feb. 8 and 9 in support of Operation Unified Response in Haiti.
The 633rd Logistics Readiness Squadron team worked alongside airmen from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and soldiers from Joint Base Langley-Eustis and Forty Lee to load the gear and people aboard C-17s from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
Air transporters from the 633rd LRS have worked around the clock since Jan. 14, ensuring the aircraft are properly loaded, said Air Force Master Sgt. Anthony McCray, the squadron's air terminal operations superintendent. The team performed joint inspections with deploying units and validated all aircraft load plans for proper weight distribution and sequencing.
Soldiers loaded vehicles, palletized cargo and gear as troops from Fort Lee's 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion boarded en route to provide security, fuel systems and water purification management in Haiti.
"The Air Force trains soldiers through an affiliation program how to load aircraft properly," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Aaron Harris, a 21st Airlift Squadron loadmaster. "They knew exactly what to do and really helped expedite the process."
Airmen use planes that are most readily available to carry cargo and people from support bases to Haiti and back. As a result, crews from around the country man aircraft from different bases, all while visiting installations that serve as hubs.
"We need to be able to respond as quickly as possible, so when the alert comes in, we take whatever plane is available," said Air Force Airman 1st Class Alex Bartels, a loadmaster from Travis who accompanied the Hickam-based C-17. "It saves time and money and helps us be as efficient as possible."
The Haiti relief operation has kept the 633rd's airmen very busy.
"Last year, we moved approximately 1,500 tons of cargo," said Air Force 2nd Lt. Larry Ingersoll, the 633rd LRS officer in charge of air terminal operations. After the Jan. 12 earthquake, the squadron's airmen moved 746 tons of relief supplies in only 25 days, just 7 percent of the year.
Since the beginning of the operation, 633rd LRS Airmen have loaded 24 aircraft with cargo and more than 200 people bound for Haiti.
(Author Air Force Airman 1st Class Jason J. Brown serves in the 633rd Air Base Wing public affairs office.)
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