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The 179th Airlift Wing returned dwelling Sunday afternoon after spending a month in Puerto Rico supporting hurricane aid efforts.
Emily Mills/News Journal

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Capt. Evan Howard is welcomed by his fellow Air National Guard members because the 179th Airlift Wing Force return to their base on Sunday after spending a month serving to with the hurricane aid efforts in Puerto Rico.(Photo: Brian J. Smith/News Journal)Buy Photo

MANSFIELD — The 179th Airlift Wing returned dwelling Sunday afternoon after spending a month in Puerto Rico supporting hurricane aid efforts. 

Nine members of the 179th and 6 members of the 178th Wing of Springfield left Oct. four for the mission to feed service members and first responders on the bottom in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria struck there in September.

“It was still affected by the hurricane,” 179th Captain Evan Howard, the officer in control of the crew, stated of the circumstances in Puerto Rico. “Downed trees, downed power lines. At our location, we didn’t have running water.”

The service members landed simply after 2 p.m. Sunday at Mansfield Lahm Airport in a grey C-130 with an American flag on the tail.

Howard stated the service members had been in Caguas, south of San Juan.

The 179th and 178th crew used a catastrophe aid cellular kitchen trailer, or DRMKT, to serve about 9,400 meals within the month they had been there, Howard stated.

The 15,000-pound cellular meals trailer is much like a good meals sales space, stated Chief Dana Togliatti with the 179th, and the recent meals badist increase morale.

“It’s literally a kitchen on wheels, which is great to have when you’re in the field and really helps with morale to feed an actual meal versus something cold that’s being torn open out of an envelope or ready-to-made meal,” she stated. “So it’s really good for the troops and the morale.”

More: 179th responding to aid efforts wanted in Puerto Rico

Howard stated earlier than the crew arrived, the service members in Puerto Rico had been primarily consuming MREs, or “meal, ready-to-eat,” that are prepackaged.

The trailer permits service members to arrange meals for as much as 1,000 individuals in underneath 90 minutes, from rapidly ready boil-in-the-bag meals to restaurant high quality meals.

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The service members from the 179th and 178th primarily fed Army National Guard troopers badigned to the 59th Troop Command from South Carolina and troopers from the 190th Engineer Battalion from the Puerto Rico National Guard.

Senior grasp sergeant Garth Eldridge with the 179th stated the National Guard unit from South Carolina, which offered a primary line of badist, cleared 500 miles of highway on the jap aspect of the island.

Eldridge stated the crew arrange a “tent city” on a ball discipline to feed the service members, who he stated “were happy to see us, once we finally got on the ground.”

“We were down the first-base line feeding troops,” he stated.

At the identical time, the Ohio Air National Guard’s 200th RED HORSE Squadron was distributing water on the island.

More: 200th RED HORSE offering hope and water

Technical Sgt. Brock Mowry, with the 200th RED HORSE Squadron, stated about 210,000 gallons of water had been distributed to the neighborhood, together with to hospitals and colleges to badist them reopen after the hurricane.

“(We) met a lot of good people there,” he stated. “(The) local community accepted us very well. Everywhere we went, you know, they were waving to us and very receptive. It was very rewarding.”

Mowry stated two dams had been constructed to make a river deep sufficient to provide the water.

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The 179th Airlift Wing Force return to their base on Sunday after spending a month serving to with the hurricane aid efforts in Puerto Rico.  (Photo: Brian J. Smith/News Journal )

The 200th RED HORSE used a reverse osmosis water purification unit, or ROWPU, to wash the water. Mowry beforehand stated the unit can purify as much as 1,500 gallons per hour.

“When we got there on the ground, we faced a lot of difficulty trying to get a site set up. We actually had to move probably four to five different times,” he stated. “(We) found fresh water at a different site.”

The 200th RED HORSE additionally despatched a catastrophe aid bed-down system, or DRBS, to the island to offer fundamental wants together with shelter, showers, latrines and laundry that may maintain as much as 150 individuals for so long as wanted.

More: 200th RED HORSE sends property to Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico

Eldridge stated the cellular kitchen trailer stays arrange on the island, with the Kansas Air National Guard taking up operations.

The Puerto Rico mission marked the primary time the trailer was used within the discipline, aside from for coaching functions. 

“The disaster relief mobile kitchen trailer is well worth using,” Eldridge stated. “It did its part down there, and it’s still running.”

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