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    116th ACW Airmen Volunteer in Savannah WC-130 Crash Security; Clean-up

    116th ACW Airmen Volunteer in Savannah WC-130 Crash Security; Clean-up

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Caila Arahood | U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Mollie Schaff, a security forces specialist with the...... read more read more

    SAVANNAH, GA, UNITED STATES

    05.14.2018

    Story by Staff Sgt. Caila Arahood 

    116th Air Control Wing Public Affairs

    SAVANNAH, Ga.— Over 40 citizen Airmen from the 116th Air Control Wing returned from Savannah, Ga. May 11, 2018 after assisting with security and clean-up efforts on-site of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard WC-130H aircraft crash where nine Airmen died. 

    The 40 plus Airmen who volunteered to assist their Georgia ANG counterparts at the 165th Airlift Wing are a mix of both full-time and traditional Air National Guardsmen, 11 from the 116th Security Forces Squadron and over 30 from the 116th Maintenance Group.

    Many of those who volunteered have civilian jobs and families they have left behind in order to help with relief efforts and to give a helping hand to those at the 165th AW who have been working around the clock since the crash occurred on May 2, 2018. 

     “We are helping the 165th in any capacity that we can,” said Tech Sgt. Hai Spletstoser, a 116th SFS member. “It feels good to be out here knowing I can contribute some kind of relief, that’s one of the best things you can do as a Guardsmen, helping your neighbors and fellow Airmen, especially in a time of need.” 

    “Our primary objective as security forces Airmen on-site is to ensure we secure and maintain the perimeter that was in place and that we only allow authorized personnel into the restricted area while the investigation continues,” said Master Sgt. Nakita Ford, the on-scene flight chief assigned to the 116th SFS. 

    Master Sgt. Lisa Williams, the plans and scheduling NCOIC from the 116th Maintenance Group, said that the main task of the 116th Maintenance Group Airmen is to continue the search for any important evidence as well as begin clean-up efforts on Ga. Highway 21 where the crash occurred.

    This is the first time many of the Airmen have responded to anything like this and many say they were at a loss for words when they laid eyes on the crash scene, but they felt proud to be here helping the 165th AW and local Georgia State Troopers as well as paying their respects to the Airmen who lost their lives. 

    “It is so surreal to actually see this live and in-person,” said Ford. “You see this online and in videos and you never think something like this will happen and that you will be a part of it, it is really sad.”

    “Being out here is very humbling,” said Senior Airman Mollie Schaff, a security forces specialist, assigned to the 116th SFS. “As Guardsmen, this is what our job is and its very important to help out the community and fellow Airmen during real-world situations like this, this is when it really counts.” 

    “As a prior Army Honor Guard member, I know the sad feeling of having to present a folded flag to the loved ones of a fallen soldier,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Sybert, a 116th SFS Airmen. “I also know it means a lot to a lot of different people, including the families of those who passed away, that we are out here spending as much time as necessary and that we are taking care of everything the best that we can.”

    Schaff, who is newly assigned to the 116th SFS, said that she has never had to respond to something like this, and although the whole situation is sad, she feels she has learned a lot being on-scene and supporting the 165th AW’s efforts while the crash is under investigation. 

    The 116th SFS and MXG Airmen fall under the 116th ACW, located at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., which works hand-in-hand with the active duty 461st ACW and Army JSTARS 138th Military Intelligence Company, to make up the Total Force Integration organization flying the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft to provide joint airborne command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to combatant commanders around the globe.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.14.2018
    Date Posted: 05.21.2018 22:36
    Story ID: 277350
    Location: SAVANNAH, GA, US 

    Web Views: 550
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    116th ACW Airmen Volunteer in Savannah WC-130 Crash Security; Clean-up