62nd AW airmen ‘answer the call’

By Staff Sgt. Frances Kriss on November 3, 2012

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - When our East Coast neighbors needed resources to restore power, they asked for help and airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing were among the first to "answer the call" and provide the assistance they needed.

Within three hours of notification, the first 62nd AW crew departed McChord Field in the early morning hours, Nov. 1 to pick up equipment and passengers from March Air Reserve Base, Calif., and deliver them to Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y.

After 19 hours, another 62nd AW crew left to do the same thing ... all in the effort to assist fellow Americans.

The rapid response was made possible through the combined efforts of planners at U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command's 18th Air Force and the 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center) operating as part of the U.S. Northern Command-led effort supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency's storm response efforts.

"This is my first time supporting a humanitarian relief mission and I'm pretty excited," said Capt. Mike Perry, 4th Airlift Squadron pilot and aircraft commander of the second mission. "It's great to be able to help out our fellow Americans, even as far away as the West Coast. I'm proud of what we do and I'll never forget this."

It was also the first time for Airman 1st Class Magen Boles, 4th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, and she feels the same way.

"I'm enriched with honor," said the San Francisco, Calif., native. "I joined the Air Force to help support my fellow Americans and it is missions like these that make my job fulfilling. It makes me proud when I open the cargo doors and ramp to see people happy with smiles because I was able to deliver much needed equipment."

These trips were part of a total force initiative that includes airmen from more than 12 active-duty Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases providing support by transporting 69 vehicles belonging to the Southern California Edison utility company.

These vehicles will be used to support efforts in restoring power and provide humanitarian assistance to the damaged areas of the East Coast.

Although the second mission is now complete, the U.S. Air Force will continue to support East Coast residents in getting back to a normal way of life.