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Westover continues to support hurricane relief efforts

Team Dover aids in hurricane relief

Airmen from the 439th Contingency Response Flight from Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., coordinate mobility operations with 3d Airlift Squadron loadmasters from Dover Air Force Base, Del., and Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel inside a C-17 Globemaster III, Sept. 24, 2017, at Dobbins ARB, Ga. The C-17 delivered FEMA equipment and personnel to the hurricane-ravaged St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Cacicia)

Staff Sgt. Thomas Ferris, 42nd Aerial Port Squadron cargo specialist, communicates with his team as they load cargo onto a C-5M Super Galaxy at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla, Sep. 16, 2017.  The 439th Airlift Wing from Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., deployed approximately 50 Airmen in support of Hurricane Irma relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Liliana Moreno/Released)

Staff Sgt. Thomas Ferris, 42nd Aerial Port Squadron cargo specialist, communicates with his team as they load cargo onto a C-5M Super Galaxy at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla, Sep. 16, 2017. The 439th Airlift Wing from Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., deployed approximately 50 Airmen in support of Hurricane Irma relief efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Liliana Moreno/Released)

Massachusetts Task Force 1 member loading a pallet.

A member of Massachusetts Task Force 1 loads a pallet September 21, 2017, in Hangar 3 on Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass. This team of individuals are going to head into hurricane damaged areas to preform search and rescue operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hanna Smith)

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. --

Patriot Wing Airmen have been instrumental in moving equipment, supplies, first responders and Airmen to support hurricane relief efforts in the South and in the Caribbean.

In fact, Westover ARB is one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s incident support bases.

In support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts Westover crews loaded 27 members and two working dogs of the Massachusetts Task Force 1 and 21,968 pounds of cargo, said Tech. Sgt. Peter Alicea-Correa, 42nd Aerial Port Squadron Air Reserve Technician.

The Task Force departed Westover Sept. 22, on a C-17 Globemaster III, for Puerto Rico.

“The advantages of Westover as a FEMA staging base are the location, hangar use to prepare their equipment and capacity to move and load large pallets access to the airfields and aircraft to be able move FEMA supplies, equipment and personnel,” said Anita Arnum, the assistant program manager of Massachusetts Task Force 1.

The primary mission of the team is life safety search and rescue, Arnum said. The team will be searching structures and possibly conducting water operations.

One of the members of their team said he uses his Air Force Reserve training to his advantage.

“As a firefighter in the Reserve, I have built a strong rescue background which has helped me prepare for this detail with the FEMA team,” said Master Sgt. Shawn Barry, a firefighter assigned to the 87th Civil Engineering Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

When the Air Force called, the 439th Airlift Wing answered—well within deployment time standards.

Prior to Hurricane Maria, Westover sent around 50 Airmen from civil engineering, public affairs, aerial port and logistics readiness down to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, in support of Hurricane Irma relief efforts.

Alicea-Correa said, Westover crews supported seven Hurricane Irma relief missions which included: five outbound C-17 missions and two outbound C-5 missions carrying 73 total passengers and 179.7 total tons of cargo.