JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --
A team of 17 Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 433rd Airlift Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, delivered 48,000 pounds of critical supplies from the Defense Logistics Agency to Indian government officials in New Delhi, India, in early May.
The supplies were delivered in response to an official request by the Indian government to the U.S. State Department on April 24 for medical supplies and equipment to assist with the impacts of COVID-19 on the country. The supplies included 132,000 N95 masks and 545 oxygen concentrators. A total of four flights departed from Travis Air Force Base, California, delivering 1.6 million N95 masks, one million COVID-19 test kits and 545 oxygen concentrators.
The Air Force Reserve Command C-5M Super Galaxy crew consisted of Citizen Airmen assigned to the 68th and 356th Airlift Squadrons, the 433rd Operations Support Squadron, and the 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron who were initially assigned to a different mission.
“We were notified about the mission the day before we were to leave on a Pacific channel mission,” said Capt. Gary Koivisto, 433rd OSS instructor aircraft commander and mission commander. “The presidential-directed (special assignment airlift) mission was still in coordination the morning we were alerted to depart. When we found out the reason for the mission change, the crew was motivated to get into execution and deliver the aid.”
The opportunity to provide support to those in need was a common thread among the Citizen Airmen.
“I felt proud that the 433rd was trusted with the tasking to support this humanitarian mission to bring goodwill to the people of India,” said Senior Master Sgt. Ernest Urrutia, 68th AS evaluator flight engineer.
“I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to assist the people of India in any way we can,” said Senior Airman Roberto Garcia, 433rd AMXS flying crew chief.
Even though the aircrew encountered obstacles along the journey, such as having to do mission planning for a new and unfamiliar destination, the crew was undeterred in accomplishing the mission.
“The crew of ‘Reach 281’ did a phenomenal job executing this very high priority mission,” said Koivisto. “They overcame every hurdle that showed itself, and took them in stride, all while keeping the end goal of the mission in mind. AFRC and the 433rd AW should be very proud of the professionalism, dedication, and accomplishments of their Airmen.” #ReserveReady
(Wade is assigned to the 433rd AW public affairs office.) ■