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145th Logistics Readiness Squadron Assists Disaster Relief in the U.S. Virgin Islands

  • Published
  • By by Tech. Sgt. Nathan Clark
  • 145th Airlift Wing

When it comes to a Hurricane, the disaster continues long after the wind has settled, this is why the Logistics Readiness Squadron of the North Carolina Air National Guard recently sent fifteen Airmen to the U.S. Virgin Islands, a region devastated back in September by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“The biggest thing was that we were there to aid and help and support the island of St. Thomas,” explained Senior Master Sgt. Raymond Graves III., Air Transportation Superintendent with the Logistics Readiness Squadron. “I definitely think that we did that.”

Leaving with short notice on November 1st, Senior Master Sgt. Graves and his team spent the next three weeks doing what they could to support the relief mission.

“Our team was needed to inspect any cargo getting loaded onto the aircraft, make sure cargo is compatible, and do load planning to make sure the aircraft is in balance. We also did passenger movement so if there are any passengers that need to be processed on or off a government aircraft that’s basically what we do.”

For Tech. Sgt. Will Johnson, a passenger services supervisor with the Logistics Readiness Squadron, this mission was a new kind of experience.

“I didn’t know what to expect going down there, this was the first deployment of this kind for me personally; this is my first hurricane relief deployment. When we got there, there were still a lot of houses that were completely destroyed, the trees were just coming back to life, all the poles were still knocked down, and there were telephone wires and electrical wires laying in the streets.”

Despite dealing with communication and equipment trouble the Logistics Readiness Squadron team was able to transport 282 passengers and move 1.1 million pounds of cargo. Additionally, they aided in the movement of more than 77,000 pounds of food donated to the U.S. Virgin Islands by National Basketball Association player Tim Duncan. Food that would later be given to more than 7,000 families just in time for Thanksgiving.

“It was nice to help out fellow Americans and go down and do something I was proud to do. It’s just a humbling experience…I am just really glad I did it,” said Johnson.