TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE (CBS13) — As more aircrews head to the Caribbean to deliver aid to areas affected by Hurricane Maria, service members from Travis Air Force Base are also helping earthquake victims in Mexico.
Airmen have delivered thousands of pounds of cargo already, and there might be more on the way.
The 21st Airlift Squadron out of Travis AFB was the first U.S. aircrew on the ground in Mexico providing aid after a magnitude-7.1 earthquake caused death and destruction.
Hours after it hit, members of the 21st airlift squadron at Travis AFB were already preparing to deploy across the border.
“Readiness and preparation is what we do. Our folks are trained to do a myriad of different missions,” said Erik Fisher, commander, 21st Airlift Squadron.
On its initial mission to Mexico City, the crew helped deliver 75,000 pounds of equipment and 67 search and rescue members from Los Angeles. The L.A. team included several canines trained to sniff through all the rubble.
“There were hundreds, of some of the Mexican military, there waiting to receive the aid that we have. That was awesome,” said Adam Cooper, Captain, 21st Airlift Squadron.
Over the last few weeks, airmen from Travis have worked long hours providing help to people in the Caribbean where food and water are now running low after Hurricane Maria.
“We are definitely stretched thin on these humanitarian aid missions. Definitely, a lot of our squadron is helping out. Travis is a very busy squadron in general, but we are happy to help out,” said Austin Whisler, senior airmen, 21st Airlift Squadron.
Pilots say it was difficult to see the destruction from the aircraft, but what they did see when they landed is the expression of need on the faces of many victims.
“Whether it was the Mexican military or the federal police, they obviously were very touched by our presence, and you can tell they had a sense of urgency,” said Fisher.
Service members at Travis AFB continue to be on standby prepared to provide more help across the border in Mexico and also areas affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.