September 29, 2017 (by 302 AW) - Two C-130 Hercules aircraft and 18 Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, are providing airlift in support of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance operations in the eastern Caribbean areas.
A 302nd AW loadmaster guides a cargo load onto an AFRC C-130 Hercules aircraft on September 25, at the San Juan IAP. Two C-130 Hercules aircraft and 18 Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 302nd AW are providing airlift in support of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance operations in the eastern Caribbean areas. [USAF photo by SrA Jesse Pabon]
Since their departure from Peterson Air Force Base, Sept. 23, the Reservists have flown airlift missions transporting cargo and supplies in support of the movement of Joint Task Force Leeward Islands’ (JTF-LI) base of operations from Puerto Rico to three Caribbean locations in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
JTF-LI is the U.S. military task force supporting U.S. foreign disaster relief to St. Martin and Dominica. The relocation was necessary due to the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico and the need to have supporting U.S. forces closer to St. Martin and Dominica. JTF-LI had been primarily operating out of Muñiz Air National Guard Base in San Juan. The move includes about 300 military personnel, eight helicopters, and four C-130 Hercules aircraft.
Joint Task Force – Leeward Islands is a United States military organization composed of Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen. As U.S. Southern Command's primary response capability, JTF-LI provides unique disaster relief capabilities, including command and control, humanitarian assessment, water production, engineering, and aviation heavy lift.
"Our Reservists have made a quick turn to make the shift from aerial firefighting missions in California to disaster relief support," said Col. James DeVere, commander of the 302nd Airlift Wing.
The call to support hurricane relief efforts came one week after the 302nd AW ended its support of Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System missions in California. MAFFS-equipped C-130s from the Peterson-based reserve wing spent seven weeks supporting the U.S. Forest Service fire suppression efforts on more than 20 wildland fires in California.