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.


 
 

 
HHM_14_Poster

Hispanic Heritage Month: Knowing the facts

In 1988, Congress established National Hispanic Heritage Month by amending the 1968 law that created National Hispanic Heritage Week. Under this law, the president was asked to issue an annual proclamation designating the “31...
 
 
4-of-11-photo

U.K. cemetery resting place for 452nd men

(Fourth in an 11-part series that was first run in the Beacon in 2007) Thirty men killed while serving in the 452nd Bombardment Group during World War II are buried at an American military cemetery near Cambridge, England. They...
 
 

Comprehensive Airman Fitness: A lifestyle and culture

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Comprehensive Airman Fitness (CAF) is comprised of a multitude of targeted programs and activities as well as resiliency skills taught to enable Airmen to make sound choices. The program’s goal is to build and sustain a thriving and resilient Air Force community that fosters mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness. The new...
 

 

Suicide prevention takes courage, communication, official says

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Veterans Affairs Department has named September National Suicide Prevention Month, but the Defense Department continues its year-round, comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to address the issue of suicide in the military, a Pentagon official said Aug. 21. Army Lt. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, military deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense for personnel...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Megan Crusher

Padres honor Team March Airmen during Air Force Appreciation Day

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Megan Crusher San Diego Padres second baseman, Jedd Gyorko, greets Senior Master Sgt. Donald Branscum, 1st Sgt., 452nd Civil Engineer Squadron, as he took his position on the field, during the Pa...
 
 

Air Force revamps Air Expeditionary Force

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force will deploy Agile Combat Support (ACS) Airmen under its redesigned air expeditionary force (AEF) construct October 1. The primary purpose of the redesign was to look at ways to deploy more ACS Airmen with their units and standardize dwell times across the Air Force as much as possible to...
 




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