SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CBS13) – Hurricane Irma causes devastation in its path, leaving many people along the Caribbean without homes and power – and in some cases stranded in nearby islands.
Buts it’s the men and women of the United States Air Force helping thousands of victims stay alive through humanitarian efforts and support.
Captain Bryan Adams with the U.S. Air Force is on a mission.
“It always feels good to be able to help where you can,” he said.
He’s the pilot aboard the C17, a global aircraft that spent hours making its way from Travis Air Force Base to San Juan, Puerto Rico, flying past Hurricane Irma to deliver much-needed supplies to the Caribbean.
“Obviously, we had a lot of different updates, both on the airplane and also how we can call in over our satellite phone and just get real-life updates so, we knew exactly where it was and we obviously adjusted our flight plan to stay well away from it,” said Adams.
The C17 can hold a lot of things, depending upon the location and what is needed, but the airmen say the aircraft is always ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“We can take vehicles, medical supplies; we can turn our airplane into a flying hospital if we have to. We can do air drop missions. We don’t even have to land at the place; we can drop the stuff, medical supplies food, water, life-saving essentials out of the back of the airplane, too,” said Milton Knight with the 15th Airlift Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base.
Knight’s family is from Jamaica, and although Hurricane Irma spared the island, he feels his mission to provide humanitarian relief and support to the other places in the Caribbean is that much more special.
“I know that they are resilient and appreciative and they are going to make it through,” said Knight.
The airmen say there could be an increase in activity at Travis Air Force Base over the next several days as they provide more help to hurricane victims.
“Hopefully, when they see us there is a smile, or we can make that frown turn into a smile. I know island people are very positive and they don’t need a lot; they can do with what they have, so they will be appreciative for whatever we can bring them,” said Knight.
This particular crew that allowed me to be part of this weekend’s mission, arrived at Travis Air Force Base late Sunday night. Most went immediately on standby and are now awaiting orders for a new mission.