World

June 15, 2012

Fly by day, build by night

March members support operations in the Pacific

Tags:
by Darnell Gardner
452 AMW public affairs

Members of the 912th Air Refueling Squadron assist in building the roof of an elderly home as part of the Nos Welita project.

CURACAO — The pint-sized island of Curacao, located just off the coast of Venezuela, serves as host to a mighty mission taken on by U.S. Southern Command.

The Key West, Fla.-based Joint Interagency Task Force South is the National Task Force that serves as the catalyst for integrated and synchronized interagency counter-illicit trafficking operations, and is responsible for the detection and monitoring of suspect air and maritime drug activity in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern Pacific.

The 912th Air Refueling Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, has personnel who initially deployed solely in support of the real-world mission to monitor areas with a history of illicit trafficking, but after arrival, an additional mission captured their interest.

As with all U.S. personnel involved in overseas contingencies, their stay is usually temporary, so an essential component to the overall mission is the forging of relations with the local community. While operating out of Curacao, the U.S. personnel partnered with local charity organizations to improve the quality of life for less fortunate residents of the island paradise.

“When we arrived, we were informed that there were plenty of volunteer opportunities to help foster the relationship between U.S. Forces and the local community,” said Capt. Josh Chambers, pilot, 912th Air Refueling Squadron, March ARB. “We all understood that any assistance given would be on a volunteer basis and could not interfere with our primary mission.”

Topping the list of volunteer activities was a community outreach program called the Nos Welita. This non-profit venture involved building a new elderly home (the present one was uninhabitable), for the 40 would-be residents. Staff Sgt. Stephen King (no relation to the writer/producer), Chaplin assistant, served as caretaker and point of contact for the project. King provided background information on the project and briefed on what to expect while working hand-in-hand with the local residents.

At the onset of Team March’s involvement, project managers ran into a few funding hurdles, which halted all progress on the housing project. This may have been a showstopper for most, but Team March members are very resourceful and not easily discouraged.

“We were told that the project suffered a few set-backs with funding.” Chambers continued with, “Since we couldn’t proceed, we looked for other odd jobs to keep us busy until the funding hurdles were cleared. Being a top priority, project managers quickly supplied us with the roofing materials that we needed. By the end of the day, we had it successfully mounted, and ready to provide cover for the unfinished house. Timing was great because a storm system was heading our way that would have surely damaged interior parts.”

March members labored feverishly knowing that their rotation was limited to a few weeks, so their work ethic was to get it done, and get it done quickly. During some phases of the construction period, their efficiency was so great that they were left with nothing to do. Did they take a breather? Not a chance! Members took to cleaning up debris in the surrounding area.

Nearing the end of their rotation, March members expressed how happy they were that their contributions would make a safer and better place for the elderly residents of the Nos Weltia project.

“We came here to support the mission, but left here with a greater sense of pride. Knowing that our volunteer efforts made such an impact makes it all worth it. We cannot wait to return to see how the project has come along. To some, it may not seem like a lot of effort, but to others it may mean the world,” said Chambers.

Contributor: Jale Wesley




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jennifer McLaughlin

Jones assumes command of 304th SBDE

U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jennifer McLaughlin Col. Robin Jones, incoming 304th Sustainment Brigade commander, accepts the unit colors from Brig. Gen. Scottie Carpenter, 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command commanding genera...
 
 
Untitled-1

Creating a lifestyle of health and fitness

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Neil Ballecer Senior Airman Coral Williams, 163rd Comptroller Flight, begins a run on the March Air Reserve Base track, April 7. Running is one of the many cardiovascular exercises Williams partic...
 
 

March Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center closes soon

The March Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center will remain open for filing taxes until April 30, 2014. With the formal tax season now over, the March VITA Tax Center has prepared approximately 800 returns, saving nearly $100K in preparation fees, and clients have received back more than $850 thousand in combined state and federal refunds,...
 

 

Reveille: Continuing a proud military tradition

Reveille is a French word that literally means “wake up” and is traditionally played at sunrise on military installations. Here at March ARB, the 452nd Security Forces Squadron raises the national flag during reveille at 7:30 a.m. each day. The practice of reveille can be traced back to the French army, which used a form...
 
 

UPCOMING TICKETS AND TOURS EVENTS

Some restrictions apply. Times are approximate. MAY Date: May 1 Event: Price Is Right Cost: $16 per person Depart: 6:30 a.m. Return: 5:30 p.m. Description / Restrictions: Come on down to be a contestant on The Price Is Right and take your chances at becoming the big showcase winner. Ages 18 and up Deadline for...
 
 

VA disability claims backlog drops by 44 percent

One year after the backlog of pending disability compensation claims peaked at over 611,000 in March 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reduced that number by approximately 44 percent to 344,000 claims, a reduction of more than 267,000, while at the same time improving the accuracy of the decisions being made on veterans’...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin