NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Airmen and local partners continue relief support in the wake of Super Storm Sandy by moving supplies, equipment and people to beleaguered areas of New York and New Jersey.
Nellis teamed up with community partners Nevada Energy and Travis Air Force Base to move 12 utility trucks, supply packs and 18 people to John F. Kennedy International Airport, N.Y. From there, the supplies moved to Long Island, N.Y., to help
restore power to nearly five million people.
“It’s been a coordinated effort through the Edison Electric Institute, which is an investor utility organization that’s been working with emergency managers across the country as well as utilities who need assistance,” said Andrea Smith, director of corporate communications for NV Energy. “We’ve been coordinating what it is that we can help with, when to go. They ultimately determined that we need to go to Long Island.”
Seeing the communities and Airmen working together to help fellow Americans has boosted morale for his crew, said Maj. Jason Richardson, 60th Air Mobility Wing chief of wing readiness and 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster pilot.
“Our crew morale is pretty high right now,” Richardson said. “There’s nothing more as Airmen that you want to do than help fellow Americans. Any time there is a chance for an American to help another American we rally to that cause.”
When there is a natural disaster in the U.S., the Defense Support of Civil Authorities can be used to allow civil authorities in states or regions affected by disaster to work with the Department of Defense. DSCA will determine what is needed and how to cooperate with the military to get those items out to where they are needed. In this case, a conference call was held where civil authorities said they needed utility trucks and personnel. The Air Force provided transportation to accelerate response time.
“We’ll get there in approximately five hours, where it would have taken them five days to drive across the country by themselves,” Richardson said.
“It’s been an extremely smooth process,” Richardson said. “We got wheels on the ground and by the time we parked out here the entire Nellis Logistics team was here with vehicles ready to go. We had the Petroleum, Oil and Lubrications Airmen here with fuel ready to go and were airborne and getting them there about two hours early.”
Previous relief flights from California transported more than 630 tons of cargo, including more than 60 vehicles.
“It’s heartwarming,” Richardson said. “I’m originally from New Orleans and my family was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Katrina and the following hurricanes that have happened since then. Being able to help out somebody else who has felt the same devastation that my family felt is heartwarming.”
NV Energy workers and volunteers have been eager to be a part of the relief efforts, Smith said.
“They have been chomping at the bit,” Smith said. “We’ve had several people step up to volunteer to go back east and assist.”