Hawaii Military Plane to Deliver U.S. Relief Supplies to China

Col. Joe Kim
Col. Joe Kim

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE (KHNL) -- To help those suffering in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake in China, a plane at Hickam Air Force Base is on standby, ready to deliver aid.

It's the very first plane the United States military is sending in its mission to help victims.

Friday afternoon, crews loaded more than 90,000 pounds of precious cargo onto a C-17 assigned to fly non-stop from Hickam Air Force Base to Chengdu International Airport.

"We're going to deliver about 15,000 humanitarian meals, about 1700 blankets, various types of fuel containers, lanterns and tarps and about 320 tents," said Vice Commander Richard Perraut of the 13th Air Force.

Less than 24 hours after getting the call, 17 pallets worth of relief supplies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arrived on base. The Department of Defense purchased the items. A crew from the Hawaii Air National Guard will take on the task of bringing the aid to earthquake victims.

"This is the finest aircraft to do this in the world. It's prepared rapidly it can be loaded rapidly and flown over non-stop. Much as we did with the earthquake relief efforts here, the flooding and the Philippine mudslide," said Col. Joe Kim with the Hawaii Air National Guard.

With the death toll increasing as more time passes, a fast response is critical. The C-17 is expected to arrive in China on Sunday.

The plane leaves Hickam at 2:45 early Saturday morning. A second air cargo jet from Alaska will also bring FEMA supplies to China.