Military supply flight heads to Houston to help with Harvey recovery efforts

Aboard flight were 80,000 pounds of supplies, dozens of medical personnel

HOUSTON – One of the first military supply flights for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts took off from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Wednesday evening bound for Houston.

Aboard the flight were 80,000 pounds of supplies, dozens of medical personnel and a KSAT 12 crew embedded with the reserve unit handling the flight.

The military doctors, nurses and supplies aboard the C-5 cargo jet could not have arrived at a better time. Officials said the medical triage situation in Houston is at 1,800 patients.

Members of the 433rd Airlift Wing, affectionately called the Alamo Wing, had an hour to assemble.

“We’re taking as much as we can, whatever the need is for Texans. We're going to get it to them, and we're going to get it done,” said Capt. Philip Cortez, with the 433rd Airlift Wing.

With the massive C-5M Super Galaxy loaded, it was wheels up to Houston. The total flight time was less than one hour long.

“Based on the load you saw downstairs, you saw how quickly it all came together,” said Lt. Kyle Byrne, with the 433rd Airlift Wing.

As the sun set Wednesday, the work to unload began. Within minutes of landing, the medical personnel was whisked away.

“We know that we're here for a purpose, and we're here to help with the patients and patient care,” said Maj. Amber Barker, with the 59th Medical Wing.

The flight was among the first to get large-scale medical supplies to Houston and one of the first flights to land at Bush Intercontinental Airport since it reopened Wednesday afternoon.

“We have three wide-load aircraft on the ground. We're supposed to have two. That's OK. We're going to work it. We're going to work it hard,” said Master Sgt. Jarrod Blanford, with the 123rd Contingency Response Group.

Blanford is from a unit flown to Houston from Kentucky. He said it’s an absolute honor to be in the great state of Texas.

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