Air Reserve Component aircrew, maintainers tackle Haiti relief effort
By Master Sgt. Stan Coleman , 35th Expeditionary Airlift Wing
/ Published February 01, 2010
MUNIZ AIR BASE, Puerto Rico -- Aircrew and maintenance Airmen representing the Air Reserve Component are tackling the Haitian relief effort as part of their Coronet Oak rotational deployment.
Coronet Oak is the U.S. Southern Command's airlift mission that provides humanitarian aid to the Central and South American theater of operations as well as islands located in the Caribbean Sea. Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard C-130 aircrews and maintenance personnel rotate to Muniz Air Base on a bi-weekly basis and maintain readiness for any needed airlift such as Operation Unified Response, which provides airlift for water, food, medical supplies and other needed cargo to assist the earthquake victims in Haiti.
Reservists from the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., arrived here Jan. 23 to support Coronet Oak missions with the 35th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.
The 302nd AW's maintenance team quickly jumped into their jobs supporting OUR missions, airlifting water, medical supplies and other needed items to the Haiti earthquake victims. The high operations tempo dictated two maintenance teams to work 12-hour shifts to keep the Coronet Oak aircraft flying.
During the 302nd's first week, maintenance responsibilities were shared with the Minnesota Air National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing.
Our unit members "fight over the opportunity to serve on these types of missions--especially to support the people in Haiti," said Master Sgt. Patrick Murphy, 35th EAS maintenance NCO. Sergeant Murphy serves with the 302nd AW as an air reserve technician.
"Adjusting to the shifting schedules and workloads have been a challenge," said Staff Sgt. Gina Cerquozzi, 35th EAS avionics technician, also from the 302nd AW.
"From day to day we don't know what taskings we have to respond to regarding the flying schedules," said Capt. Sharon Rice, 35th EAS maintenance officer. "I'm required to coordinate the assignment of crew chiefs who fly on the missions. It's challenging to keep up with who's on crew rest and who is ready to go.
'Our maintainers are doing an outstanding job and they are gung-ho on making sure our aircraft are ready to fly. My biggest challenge is making sure they get enough rest," said Capt. Rice. "They want to get our planes back into the air."
Aircrews, maintenance personnel and other support personnel from the North Carolina Air National Guard's 145th Airlift Wing, Charlotte, N.C., rotated in to support the Coronet Oak mission Jan. 30.