Flood of support

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. BreeAnn Sachs
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 49th Wing and 635th Materiel Maintenance Group, at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M, assisted with airlift efforts in response to the devastation of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., by Hurricane Michael starting October 12.

“Our team has dedicated over 7,000 man-hours defining the requirement, preparing the equipment for deployment and assisting the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron in loading the assets on C-17s,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Ottinger, 635th MMG deputy commander.

Airmen worked around the clock to provide aid to their fellow Airmen in need.

“We sent billeting kits, hygiene kits, lavatories and supplies for housing,” said Airman 1st Class Jordan Chandanais, 49th LRS air transportation specialist. “It has been amazing to be part of a humanitarian mission. It is great to be part of something bigger and to have an impact on the world.”

The seamless partnership between the 49th LRS and 635th MMG allowed for over 360 tons of potentially life-saving supplies to be transported nearly 2,000 miles. The 635th MMG is the Air Force’s only Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources unit, known as BEAR Base.

“It has been extremely humbling to work alongside the men and women of the 635th MMG during this joint operation,” said 2nd Lieutenant Isabella Zamarron, 49th LRS instillation deployment officer. “They are very hard workers and are key in providing their equipment, and accompanying information in order for us to coordinate transportation to Tyndall.”

Despite the long hours, the Airmen of the 49th LRS and 635th MMG remain motivated and focused on the task at hand.

"The level of excitement and performance is inspiring,” said Senior Master Sgt. Craig Hunter, 635th Materiel Maintenance operations flight lead. “Knowing that we are supporting our own has pushed the talented members of BEAR Base so much that they were able to have the tasked personnel, and assets ready and loaded on aircraft within 48 hours."

This operation not only supports fellow Airmen in need, it makes history.

“This is one of the largest support packages that the 635 MMG has deployed in the last decade, and we were able to get our people and assets out the door in a matter of hours,” said Ottinger. “In fact, in less than 36 hours of arrival, we had shelters up at Tyndall. This is a testament to the skill and dedication of the 635 MMG's Airmen.”

The Airmen of the 49th LRS and 635th MMG remain ready to respond to any emergency, anytime at anyplace.

“This has been, by far, the most rewarding experience I've had in the Air Force,” said Zamarron. “With each jet that leaves full, we are ensuring that Airmen at Tyndall make a swift and successful recovery from this natural disaster. Situations like these really make any Airmen reflect on the reason why we wear the uniform, and why we work hard every day to get this mission complete.”