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CONTACT: Lt. Col. Deanna Miller, 716-236-3142 or (cell)716-425-0503
FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, Feb 09, 2010

New York Air National Guard Airmen Fly Relief Missions Into Haiti

Niagara Falls- Based Members of 107th Airlift Wing Evacuate Injured Civilians, Meet Bill Clinton

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, NY (02/09/2010)-- Ten members of the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing are flying their C-130 transport plane into and out of Haiti from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida as part of the U.S. military's relief effort, Operation Unified Response. The latest mission for these Citizen Airmen was flying badly injured Haitians out for medical treatment. Friday, Feb. 5, the mission day started with a 9:30 a.m. show-time for the crew of ten. The C-130s the 107th flies can be operated with fewer crew, but the ten-airman, "augmented crew" allows people to rotate and provides for continuous operation. After being shuttled out to the aircraft loadmasters Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Obrochta, from Orchard Park, NY, and Senior Airman Laura Kruse, from West Valley, NY meticulously completed their checklist, preparing the tail end of the C-130 for flight. Meanwhile the flight engineers Tech Sgt. Brian Waite, from Fredonia, NY and Alan Frankosky, from North Tonawanda, checked the mechanical readiness of the aircraft. If any deficiencies were found crew chief Staff Sgt. Joe Hodkin, a Newfane, NY resident, was on hand to make any necessary repair. With thumbs up from all, the C-130 was deemed mission ready. Today's mission was to transport critically injured Haitian to Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., for life saving care. This is no easy feat, for it takes a complete reconfiguration of the cargo area of the C-130 to safely and securely transport injured personnel. Members of the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, MacDill, AFB put their expertise to work turning the tail end of the craft into a flying medical transport center. On board were all the necessary supplies, equipment and personnel to ensure that the precious cargo arrives safe and sound. While in flight, two medical teams from 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, MacDill AFB, along with the 81st Medical Group ,from Kessler Air Force Base, Ms., ran oxygen lines, hung bandage cases and set up monitors ensuring that they were both ready to receive the injured. Shortly after touchdown in Port-au-Prince, military medical teams already on sight transported the injured to the awaiting teams aboard Niagara's C-130. Once on board the teams got to work ensuring that the patients were fit to travel the five-hour-long flight to Dobbins ARB. Teams hooked up monitors, IV's and redressed injuries as needed. On this flight the Niagara Falls airmen also got a chance to meet former President Bill Clinton. While waiting on the tarmac for the medical evacuees the former president's plane parked next to the Niagara Falls C-130 that was being readied for take-off. Shortly thereafter an entourage of security surrounded Clinton's plane and within minutes Clinton arrived. Upon his arrival, Clinton took the time to thank the 107th Airlift Wing aircrew for their service by posing for a photo with them. "I'm going to frame this and give it to my grandparents," said Staff Sgt. Brian Waite, a C-130 flight engineer. "This was great," he added. Throughout the flight back to the United States, both teams kept a watchful eye on all patients aboard. There were ten patients in total, two U.S. military members who had sustained injuries in support of Operation Unified Relief, a mother with her 2-year-old daughter and a young female all of which were able to board the plane under their own power. The remaining five sustained injuries such as limb fractures, head wounds and the worst was a double amputee that had lost both legs due to injuries he incurred during the earthquake. "It feels good," said Master Sgt. Niki Rozsypal, a member of the 45th AES. "We made a difference in their lives today, they will get the care that they desperately need," she added. Upon arrival at Dobbins AFB the plane along with its injured patients were greeted by an entourage of more than 100 medical personnel donned in masks, goggles and protective wear, U.S. Customs and numerous other military personnel. After Customs cleared the plane the patients were loaded one at a time into prearranged civilian ambulances destine for a predetermined civilian hospital where their care will continue. "Welcome to America," said Senior Airman Kruse to one of the patients upon touchdown. "I don't know if she understood what I said, but she did have a smile on her face," she added. With the passing of more than 14 hours and the day's mission complete 107th AW, C-130 pilots Col. Bob Kilgore, Lancaster, NY and Maj. Greg Miller, from Youngstown, NY, rallied to get the crew home, well their temporary home at MacDill for the mandated crew rest. "Great job today guys," Miller said. "You should be proud of yourself," he added during the post flight briefing. Story and Photos by Staff Sgt. Peter Dean, 107th Airlift Wing Photo Cutlines: 100502-F-0648D-009.jpg Air Force Medics from the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and medics from the 81st Medical Group from, Keesler Air Force Base, Ms. provide treatment to injured Haitians being medically evacuated on a C-130 flown by members of the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing during a mission on 5 Feb, The 107th responded in support of Operation Unified Relief just four days after the 7.0 earth quake ravished Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 100502-F-0648D-001.jpg PORT- AU- PRINCE, Haiti- Three members of the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing meet former President Bill Clinton during a mission to Haiti on 5 February to bring in relief supplies and fly out injured people. With Clinton are, (From left to right) Staff Sgt. Brian Waite, a C-130 flight engineer from Fredonia, NY, 1st Lt. Joe Neglia, a C-130 pilot from Rochester, NY and Maj. Greg Miller, a C-130 pilot from Youngstown, NY.


© NYS DMNA Press Release:New York Air National Guard Airmen Fly Relief Missions Into Haiti
Page Last Modified: Feb 09, 2010