HomeNews

News Search

Illinois Air National Guard Unit Continues to Support Hurricane Recovery

A group of about 15 people gather in a circle to do a team hand stack cheer before some of them leave for Puerto Rico

Personnel from the 126th Security Forces Squadron gather for a team hand stack before boarding a bus to the flight line at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, October 10, 2017. The Illinois Air National Guard squadron deployed a 13 person team to Puerto Rico to provide security. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ken Stephens)

Tech. Sgt. Closson wearing a backpack boards an Air Force bus

Tech. Sgt. Sean Closson, team leader, steps onboard a bus heading to a cargo plane at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, October 10, 2017. The Illinois Air National Guard squadron deployed a 13 person team to Puerto Rico to provide security. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ken Stephens)

Col. Jonathan Boehning stands beside cargo pallets and all terrain vehicles talking to Security Forces personnel

Col. Jonathan Boehning, commander of the 126th Mission Support Group, talks with 126th Security Forces Squadron members while cargo is being loaded at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, October 10, 2017. The Illinois Air National Guard squadron deployed a 13 person team to Puerto Rico to provide security. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ken Stephens)

An all terrain vehicle is backed up the loading ramp into a C-130 cargo aircraft

Senior Airman Aaron Rodriguez backs an all-terrain vehicle onto a C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft, from the 139th Airlift Wing, St. Joseph, Missouri, at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, October 10, 2017. The plane flew a 13 person team from the 126th Security Forces Squadron, Illinois Air National Guard, to Puerto Rico to provide security. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ken Stephens)

A C-130 lifts off the runway during take off at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois

An Air National Guard C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft from the 139th Airlift Wing, St. Joseph, Missouri, takes off from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, October 10, 2017. The plane flew a 13 person team from the 126th Security Forces Squadron, Illinois Air National Guard, to Puerto Rico to provide security. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ken Stephens)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- An Illinois Air National Guard unit continues to airlift supplies and personnel to assist with Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

The 126th Air Refueling Wing, located at Scott Air Force Base, in a mission that began on September 30, flew nearly 15 hours to accomplish the mission. The KC-135R Stratotanker and crew, assigned to the 108th Air Refueling Squadron, were tasked to take food, water and medical supplies to Puerto Rico. They also airlifted Louisiana Army National Guard personnel to help with the ongoing recovery efforts.

The no-notice airlift was executed in less than 48 hours from notification to completion.

“Lt. Col. Steve Olson called us Saturday evening,” said Master Sgt. Shannon Tindle, the aviation resource manager for the 126th, speaking of her call with the 108th commander. “The aircrew went straight into mandatory crew rest to ensure they were ready for the flight. Meanwhile, Maj. Ben Wheelan, in the squadron current operations, planned the mission, I processed their flight orders and our Aircrew Flight Equipment prepared their gear.”

The crew for the humanitarian mission consisted of Lt. Col. Nicolas Henschel, a pilot and aircraft commander; Maj. Anthony Meyers, a pilot; and boom operators, Master Sgt. Jameson Liggett and Staff Sgt. Korbin Hays. Also tasked for the crew were 126th Maintenance Group crew chiefs: Senior Master Sgt. Barton Swett, Master Sgt. Carlos Fernandez, and Tech. Sgt. Peter Perry.

According to Tindle, they were alerted by the wing command post Sunday morning of the final mission tasking and arrived at the 126th Operations Group shortly after. The mission was airborne by Sunday afternoon.

They flew their first leg to New Orleans Naval Air Station, Louisiana.

“We loaded the aircraft with 15,000 pounds of water, MREs and medical supplies,” said Liggett. “We also took on 39 soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard and their equipment including tents and cots.”

From Louisiana, the aircrew flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and landed at midnight Sunday. The airfield had very little lighting according to Liggett.

“The airport was heavily damaged and very austere. We had to unload quickly and fly back out to make room for more inbound Air National Guard airlifts,” said Liggett.

The mission then headed to MacDill Air Force Base, near Tampa, Florida. They landed at 4 a.m. which put the crew at 15 hours for the entire mission, explained Liggett.

The entire aircrew was glad to have a chance to help according to Liggett. “Missions like this are one of the reasons we’re in the Guard,” he said.

The next week, on October 10, the wing also deployed an all-volunteer 13 person security team from Scott Air Force Base to the island.
According to team leader, Tech. Sgt. Sean Closson, their mission is to provide physical security for the airport at Aguadilla.

While waiting for their cargo to load on the plane, Col. John Boehning, commander of the 126th Mission Support Group, told them, “It’ll be a different experience but you’ll certainly do a good job. I’m looking forward to hearing good things. Thank you for volunteering and stepping up.”

The team then boarded an Air National Guard C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft that flew in from the 139th Airlift Wing, St. Joseph, Missouri, to begin their trip.

The 126th Air Refueling Wing has also deployed an eight person team and communications package, currently supporting Puerto Rico recovery efforts, and participated in other efforts to airlift aid to storm stricken areas in the U.S. and its territories.

The 126th Communications Flight’s Joint Incident Site Communications Capability assists disaster response teams by giving task force commanders a vital tool to assist with search and recovery efforts. The package provides real time internet, radio, phone and video chat capabilities.

The 126th Air Refueling Wing is participating in global contingencies including Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve, and deploys members world-wide in support of the national defense of the U.S. and its allies. The wing is part of the U.S. Strategic Command’s mission to deter aggression and decisively respond if deterrence fails.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.