News: VMGR-152 pilots, crew keep relief supplies flying
Story by Cpl. Jose Lujano
CLARK AIR BASE, PAMPANGA, Republic of the Philippines— On Nov. 7 Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Republic of the Philippines leaving hundreds of thousands of citizens without adequate food, water and shelter.
During the first few days, people in the devastated areas needed supplies – and they needed them fast. The most rapid way to get survivors the supplies they needed was through the air.
Three days later pilots and crews with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 began delivering relief supplies and ushering out survivors as part of Operation Damayan.
VMGR-152 is currently assigned to 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade’s aviation combat element in support of Joint Task Force 505.
In response to the Government of the Philippines requests for assistance, U.S. Pacific Command responded with a variety of capabilities to contribute to the international disaster relief efforts.
As part of the assistance and relief efforts 12 U.S. Marine KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft deployed to the Philippines Nov. 10, the traditional birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.
“Since our arrival we have flown everyday in support of this operation,” said Capt. Barrett T. Alexander, a pilot with VMGR-152.
Even though the mission includes extremely long hours, there is no greater satisfaction than helping people, according to Alexander.
“We are sad to hear about all the people who lost someone or something to the typhoon, but we are proud to say that we have made a (positive) impact (for) them,” said Alexander.
Throughout the past two weeks, pilots and crews have flown more than 245 hours, transporting more than 8,000 passengers; 1,582,000 pounds of relief supplies and more than 236,000 gallons of fuel.
“It is an amazing to know that the supplies we bring, and the people we transport, are saving the lives of our Filipino friends,” said Alexander.
A KC-130J can carry a maximum payload of 34,000 pounds, which is one of the largest cargo transport capabilities of the Marine Corps, according to Capt. Jonathan D. Craus, a pilot with VMGR-152.
“This capability allows us to get more supplies to the disaster area faster and transport people,” said Craus.
Throughout their time here, the pilots, crew and their aircraft continued to provide aid to the Republic of the Philippines.
“It’s just something we have to do,” said Craus. “People out there need our help, and this is the way that we can help them.”