Saturday, January 30, 2010

Haiti Evacuees

Yesterday we flew into Haiti and spent several hours on the ground. 

We unloaded 38,000 tons of cargs (to include 10 shower units).  We, the media and another Public Affairs guru, met up with the Air Force PAs staying at the airport and arranged a few minutes outside the airport.  While we were there we saw a group of orphans being carried by aid workers to try to get on an airplane. We talked with one worker who was carrying what seemed to be an infant and turned out to be a 3-year-old. He was just so tiny (and adorable).

We also arranged an interview with an Aerial Porter.  This guy was on the first USAF jet that landed after the quake.  They have been working so hard to unload supplies and get airplanes out of there (space on the tarmac is limited).  When they landed they not only had to unload their own airplane, but they also had to set up their own tents - anything they needed, they had to make or set up themself.  Now that's intense.

Then we loaded 177 Haitians onto our plane.  This was quite a process because they first put the elderly or disabled folks in the seats that were on the side of the airplane.  Then the folks who didn't have physical problems had to sit on the floor of the aircraft and they were about 8 to a row with cargo straps across their laps.  I'm sure it wasn't comfortable but they were so happy to be getting back to the US.  They were all US citizens or legal aliens (meaning they had a visa).

Right now we're in Charleston, SC and waiting to get our marching orders as to when and where we're going.  We hope to get one more mission to Haiti.

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