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Travis supports Kilauea volcano relief efforts

Cement mixer trailer delivered to the island of Hawaii

Aircrew members from the 22nd Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, unload a double recirculating cement mixer trailer from a C-5M Super Galaxy at Hilo International Airport, Hawaii, May 15. U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese

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A C-5M Super Galaxy from Travis Air Force Base, California, departed May 15 to deliver a double recirculating cement mixer trailer to the island of Hawaii. The trailer will be used in support of Kilauea volcano relief efforts.

Getting the trailer to Hawaii quickly is critical because volcanic activity is disturbing wells at the Puna geothermal power plant. The trailer will help stabilize any potential hazards caused by volcanic activity.

An aircrew from the 22nd Airlift Squadron was responsible for the short notice delivery of the equipment to the island. Tech. Sgt. Cole Rehse, 22nd AS loadmaster, was given less than 24-hours notice before the mission.

"We had less than 24-hour notice for this trip, which is out of the ordinary as far as notifications go," said Rehse. "Any time you have an opportunity to help people out and ensure their safety, that's always fulfilling."

The cementing trailer has local ties to the Travis community as the company that owns the trailer is based 20 miles away in Rio Vista, California. Alexander Morris, operations manager in Rio Vista, is grateful for the assistance Travis is providing.

"This is the first time we've ever flown the double RCM trailer," said Morris. "We normally send this equipment by boat, which takes almost two weeks. With assistance from Travis, we're cutting that time down significantly."

"With the ongoing volcanic eruptions, they're trying to mitigate any well control hazards," said Morris. "It's a preventive measure as well as to shut in some of these wells."

Loading the double RCM trailer onto the C-5M Super Galaxy was somewhat challenging because of its size. The trailer weighs more than 55,000 pounds and is almost 100 feet long. Securing the trailer properly took some time because it had never been done before. Senior Airman Jacob New, 60th Aerial Port Squadron air transportation journeyman, oversaw the loading of the trailer.

"The item was so unique that it was difficult to figure out how to secure it," said New. "Backing the trailer into the C-5M with the semi-truck, then finding the correct tie-down locations took a lot of time."

It took a team of 10 aerial porters members to successfully load the trailer. Once the trailer was secure, New could reflect on the significance of what he and his team accomplished.

"It's always good to be part of the solution," said New. "It's what keeps me going."

The 22nd AS is no stranger to delivering critical cargo. In the past year, the unit has delivered cargo to support hurricane relief in Texas and Puerto Rico, delivered supplies to Mexico after an earthquake, while modeling the epitome of rapid global mobility. Capt. Thomas Tharp, 22nd AS aircraft commander, takes pride in knowing his crew is helping those who need it.

"It's great to take a group of guys and do a mission that has a big impact," said Tharp. "It's very humbling to pull off a mission with less than 24-hour notification to perfection."

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