At any moment's notice, the CRW answers the call
By Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez, 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 07, 2014
ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia -- The 621st Contingency Response Wing is known for being ready to deploy within a 12 hour notice. But on Sept. 16, the Air Force's requirement was much quicker.
A rapid-response team of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army air and surface mobility specialists deployed to Liberia as a Joint Task Force-Port Opening team in support of Operation UNITIED ASSISTANCE, a comprehensive U.S. effort to work with the World Health Organization and other international partners to help the Governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone respond and contain the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa as quickly as possible.
Capt. John Diaz, 817th Contingency Response Group commander's executive officer, was one of the first Airmen notified and deployed. His call came at approximately 3 p.m. By 6:30 p.m., he was in the air, on his way to Africa to take part in OUA with the Joint Task Force-Port Opening team as the lead logistics officer.
"This is the first time that I've ever been part of a mission where I was deployed as quickly as this," Diaz said. "I've never been rapidly mobilized in a very short time to get out here."
Diaz was part of a four Airmen advanced team that was rapidly deployed to evaluate the airfield infrastructure here.
According to Senior Airman William Doty, 817 Global Mobility Squadron aerial porter, the timeliness of the deployment took him by surprise.
"It was pretty shocking," Doty said. "I thought it was another exercise recall at first when I was called right in the middle of my lunch. Hours later, I was on a plane going to Liberia. It was very surreal."
According to Doty, this experience is a perfect example of the importance of staying ready to execute the CRW's mission.
"Training and readiness is very important because at any moment, you can be called," Doty said. "Our mission statement says we are ready to deploy within 12 hours, but you can be called upon in well less than that. So always be ready because it can happen at any time."
"This also shows that the training that I received along the way is invaluable," Diaz added. "When I'm out here, I'm alone, it's just me. So I rely on my training to get the job done while I'm out here."
Diaz expressed that he was honored to be a part of OUA.
"I love it!" Diaz said. "I love that they sent me out early and I was able to work with the U.S. Embassy in Liberia and along-side USAID to understand the big picture of this deployment. It's phenomenal."
"It's a great thing to help provide all of the support that this country needs in order to help them deal with this crisis they're up against right now," Doty added. "It's just great to be here and be a part of it."