STOCKTON (CBS13) — Crews from Travis Air Force Base are closely monitoring Hurricane Maria as it gets closer to the Caribbean.
Dozens of service members just returned from providing relief from Hurricane Irma in both Florida and Puerto Rico.
“We’re close to getting there, just to get ready for it. We can’t stay here,” said Carlos Cardona, who lives in Puerto Rico.
As we’re talking with Cardona, he is being evacuated from his high rise apartment building as Hurricane Maria draws near.
“Right now, there is no elevator, and there is no power either,” he said.
I met Cardona on the island two weeks ago while I was traveling with a crew from Travis Air Force Base. The airmen were on a mission to provide hurricane relief to the Caribbean.
“It was pretty intense, and it looked pretty devastated. A lot of the structures were completely destroyed and some of them were just roofs missing and typical wind damage,” said Maj. Bryon Shield, C-17 Pilot with the 21st Airlift Squadron.
A total of 60 men and women from the 621st contingency response squadron and members of the 60th medical group and aircrew members from the 21st and 22nd airlift squadrons have just returned to Travis Air Force Base, and many more crews are preparing to possibly return to the Caribbean.
“Knowing that those that are stranded in areas where they can’t get out in dense populations, being able to load helicopters with food and water that they can disperse out to people it’s really good knowing that they at least have food and water,” said TSgt. Christina Anders, 821st Contingency Response Squadron.
From the initial days after the disaster created by Hurricane Irma to the on-going efforts happening now, multiple teams from Travis are working together to provide humanitarian aid to those impacted.
“It was an incredible experience to see a need and be able to meet that need for our fellow Americans,” said Lt. Col. Blaine Baker, 821st Contingency Response Squadron Commander.
Service members are on standby to help just as Hurricane Maria threaten areas.