Niagara heads for Haiti
By Staff Sgt. Peter Dean, 107th AW/PA
/ Published January 16, 2010
Niagara Falls -- The 107th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard along with the 914th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserves were tasked to send two fully crewed C-130s to aid in the humanitarian efforts in Haiti. In the early morning hours of Jan. 16, Fuzzy 90 and Bison 91 departed Niagara Falls en route to Pope AFB, North Carolina where humanitarian aid and cargo will be transferred onto the aircrafts. Upon completion, the crews will continue to their next destination, the devastated Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, to provide some much needed relief to the people of the island.
"We're going down to help people in dire need right now," said Master Sgt. Szpaicher 107th AW, C-130 Crew Chief. "We're trying to give the people some kind of comfort and relief," he added.
The five-day mission is slated to have the C-130s shuttle back and forth from Port-au-Prince to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fl., where the C-130s will be resupplied. This on-going mission will not only supply the inhabitants of Haiti but also the thousands of rescue workers on scene.
This joint mission would not have been possible a few years ago. In response to the BRAC decision of 2005 the 107th AW converted from the KC-135R an air refueling wing to a C-130 airlift wing. Now associated with the 914th AW both units work together for one common goal, to provide fast, reliable worldwide airlift.
"Both units have been tasked to support this mission, it's a combined effort between the New York Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserves," said Col. Patrick Ginavan, 107th AW Commander. "This is a perfect example of a successful Air Reserve Component partnership," he added.
"Very satisfying," said Col. Allan Swartzmiller, 914th AW, Commander. "To provide aid to this humanitarian effort is very satisfying, "he added.
"The 914th and the 107th train daily for airlift missions," said Col. Swartzmiller. "We fly, plan, maintain and load plans daily'" he added.
"It validates our training," said Col. Ginavan. "It's rewarding to validate what we practice day-in, day-out," he added.
Whether it's a world contingency or a humanitarian effort, the men and women of the Niagara Air Reserve Station have a history of being ready and able when called upon
"We had so many of our Airmen volunteer, we had to turn people down," said Col. Ginavan. "We're very proud of our guys," he added.
"This mission has a true meaning to it," said Szpaicher. "We're going down there to make a difference," he added.