By Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 25, 2014
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
The first group of 90 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines sent to West Africa to combat Ebola, are now back safe-and-sound in the U.S. because of the tenacity of the 3d Airlift Squadron and all of Team Dover.
Seven Team Dover aircrew members from the 3d AS conducted a humanitarian relief mission into West Africa in support of Operation United Assistance, combating the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease, from Nov. 10 to 13, 2014.
"To accomplish the first move of people back out; to bring them back to their families is along the same lines as bringing a warfighter back," said Lt. Col. Jason Mills, 3d AS commander. "They're in a different kind of war; it's a humanitarian support war."
This was the first airlift mission to redeploy U.S. service members back to the U.S. since the start of Operation United Assistance. The mission also saw the aircrew delivering three passengers and 50 thousand pounds of cargo to Monrovia, Liberia. This cargo included Humvees, medical supplies, Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), clean water and other supplies.
Originating at Dover AFB, Delaware, the crew flew to Pope Field, North Carolina, to pick up humanitarian relief supplies. The crew then flew to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, to pick up and deliver parts for a stranded jet at St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Accomplishing this and crew resting, the aircrew's next stop was the tiny British Overseas Territory of Ascension Island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. While en route to Ascension Island, the aircrew received word that they were being directed to tail swap and that they were picking up a high-priority mission once they arrived.
Arriving at Ascension Island, the aircrew swapped their Dover AFB C-17 Globemaster III for a Joint Base Lewis-McChord C-17. They were also instructed to fly to Monrovia, Liberia, to pick up an Advanced (ADVON) Team, who were supporting Operation United Assistance, and return them to the U.S.
Upon delivering the humanitarian relief cargo, the aircraft's cargo bay had to be outfitted to hold the 90 passengers.
After a short refueling stop in Dakar, Senegal, the 90 U.S. service members were flown to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, since it has been designated as one of the Transit Centers for returning military personnel returning from missions fighting Ebola in West Africa. Per directive from Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all military personnel who return from taking part in Operation United Assistance in West Africa, must undergo a 21-day control monitoring program, where they will be physically separated from family members and the general public. Once this 21 day program ends, the service members are to return to their respective duty stations.
Once returning their C-17 Globemaster III to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, the 3d AS crew returned to Dover AFB.
The 3d AS aircrew was made up of Capt. Ty Scott, aircraft commander and 436th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment flight commander, Capt. Matthew Kurtz, copilot, Capt. Connor Murphy, copilot, Tech. Sgt. Shaun Flatter, loadmaster, Staff Sgt. Ryan Thompson, loadmaster, Airman 1st Class Cody Deranick, loadmaster, and Staff Sgt. Aaron Williams, 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief.
"Overall, this was an amazing opportunity to support those around the world that need the help of the American military," said Scott. "This is an example of how Team Dover delivers excellence and uses our rapid global mobility capability to provide unmatched humanitarian assistance."