Airmen stand ready to support Hurricane Irma relief efforts

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Three contingency response teams prepositioned at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, awaiting forward deployment to support ongoing relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma. 

“Our teams are part of a larger Department of Defense response to support civil authorities,” said Master Sgt. Rodney Huffer, 921st Contingency Response Squadron CRT chief. “Our role is to rapidly respond with critically-needed capabilities to deliver assistance and aid in relief efforts as directed.”

Huffer said from the time teams are notified, they will need to be in-place in six hours.

The CRTs are being paired with Rapid Response Aeromedical Staging Teams to facilitate medical air evacuation of patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. 

“Once an airfield is deemed usable by the 821st CRG’s Airfield Assessment Team, a CRT and RRAST will infill via a C-17 to reopen the airfield,” said Master Sgt. Dale Nyhus, 821st CRS CRT chief. “The CRT will establish command and control of the airfield and provide aerial port and maintenance support, while the RRAST coordinate evacuation of patients.”

The CRT will also support the movement of additional relief supplies and personnel, as needed. 

The 621st Contingency Response Wing remains prepared to assist civil authorities’ efforts to provide rapid humanitarian aid to those affected by one of the largest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic.

“It is always a privilege to serve the American people, so it will be especially meaningful to be able to assist our citizens directly,” Nyhus said. “We empathize with those in Irma’s path, and look forward to getting help into the area as soon as possible.”

There are currently two CRTs from the 821st CRG at Travis AFB, California, and a third from the 621st CRG at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. 

The 621st Contingency Response Wing has units continuously on alert and ready to deploy anywhere in the world within 12 hours of notification. 

“Personnel and equipment readiness are inextricably linked to that capability,” Nyhus said. “We validate that readiness by participating in exercises to simulate situations ranging from combat to humanitarian relief.”