WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the deadliest in history, resulting in hundreds of lives lost and billions of dollars of infrastructure destroyed.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Air Transportability Test Loading Activity office here, was recently recognized for the crucial support they provided for hurricane rescue and recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and countries in the Caribbean.
The office provided support by ensuring that approximately 45 vital pieces of equipment including trailers for carrying food and water, as well as a mobile air control tower, large generators, a 9,500 gallon fuel tank, a mobile field hospital, and satellite communications vehicles were safe for flight and compatible with the Air Force aircraft.
Essentially the team made sure that aircraft delivering supplies could carry the cargo and that proper restraints were used to secure the load and prevent damage before arriving at their destination.
In addition, hundreds of items that they had been certified prior to the hurricane season were delivered to areas impacted by the storms.
These efforts were crucial because in many areas impacted by the hurricanes, airlift was the only way to bring in supplies and equipment said Mark Kuntavanish, lead engineer for ATTLA.
He went on to add that the team worked day and night, often from home to support the relief and repair efforts.
“I'm convinced that the ATTLA folks and their work saved lives,” said Col. George Vogel, chief of the mobility division and director of the North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command Deployment Distribution Operations Center, which coordinated the Department of Defense’s delivery of supplies to the islands. “There were pieces of equipment that had never flown on DOD aircraft before, and ATTLA certified all of it in less than 24 hours which was absolutely huge.”
Vogel went on to add that the mobile control tower that was certified by ATTLA and delivered to Puerto Rico, was able to increase the volume of planes delivering supplies from 3-4 planes per day to 3-4 planes per hour, ultimately getting more resources to survivors.
“I wanted to tell them (ATTLA) thanks for everything that they’ve done during the hurricane relief,” Vogel said about his trip to Wright-Patt. “I also wanted to see what we can do to help each other and be more efficient in the future.”
“It was an honor to be recognized and that our efforts helped so many people in need,” said Kuntavanish.