Hawaii-based cargo jets deploy to Haiti - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii-based cargo jets deploy to Haiti

Air Force Capt. Chris Kelly Air Force Capt. Chris Kelly
1st Lt. Trent Updike 1st Lt. Trent Updike
1st Class Christopher Brink 1st Class Christopher Brink

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HICKAM AFB (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hickam Air Force base houses nine C-17 cargo jets. Three of the wide-bodies are going to Haiti to carry emergency supplies.

"Mostly it's going to be water, MREs, and then maybe some heavy machinery," Air Force Capt. Chris Kelly said.

The airplanes will fly to a base in Charleston, SC, load up, then make the three-hour flight to Haiti.

The crews are preparing to work round-the-clock.

"So we're going to have enough pilots and shifts that we'll be able to sleep and get rest both while we're in the air and while we're on the ground," 1st Lt. Trent Updike said.

C-17s from around the country are either in Haiti or in en route. Monday, the U.S. air dropped food and water to bypass bottlenecks on the ground.

"We're not sure what's it's going to be like on the ground before we get there. I guess that's the nervousness part of it. Other than that we're going to be fast and efficient like we usually are," Airman 1st Class Christopher Brink said.

Last year Hickam C-17s flew relief missions to Indonesia and American Samoa following natural disasters in those countries. The destruction in Haiti is beyond belief.

"I don't think anyone can really prepare for that. I sure haven't seen anything like that in my lifetime," Updike said.

A C-17 can carry up to 170,000 pounds of cargo.

"That cargo can be outsized or overweigh what other traditional air frames can carry," Keller said. "The C-17 provides some awesome capability for the United States to deliver supplies."

Haiti needs relief supplies by the plane load.

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