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Travis Airmen Support Kilauea Volcano Relief Efforts


TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

A C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft delivered a double recirculating cement mixer trailer for use in support of Kilauea volcano relief efforts on Hawaii, the largest and southeastern-most of the Hawaiian Islands.

The aircraft delivered the equipment May 15.

An aircrew from the 22nd Airlift Squadron based here participated in the delivery. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Cole Rehse, a loadmaster, was given short notice for the mission.

“We had less than a 24-hour notice for this trip, which is out of the ordinary as far as notifications go,” Rehse said. “Anytime you have an opportunity to help people out and ensure their safety, that’s always fulfilling.”

The trailer has local ties to the Travis community as the company that owns it is based 20 miles away in Rio Vista, California. Alexander Morris, operations manager in Rio Vista, is grateful for the assistance Travis is providing.

Special Delivery

“This is the first time we’ve ever flown the double RCM trailer,” Morris said. “We normally send this equipment by boat, which takes almost two weeks. With assistance from Travis, we’re cutting that time down significantly.”

Getting the trailer to Hawaii quickly is critical because volcanic activity is disturbing wells at the Puna geothermal power plant. The trailer will help stabilize any potential hazards caused by volcanic activity.

“With the ongoing volcanic eruptions, they’re trying to mitigate any well control hazards,” Morris said. “It’s a preventive measure as well as to shut-in some of these wells.”

Loading the double RCM trailer onto the Galaxy was somewhat challenging because of its size. The trailer weighs more than 55,000 pounds and is almost 100 feet long. Securing the trailer properly took some time because it had never been done before. Air Force Senior Airman Jacob New, 60th Aerial Port Squadron air transportation journeyman, oversaw the loading of the trailer.

“The item was so unique that it was difficult to figure out how to secure it,” New said. “Backing the trailer into the C-5M with the semi-truck then finding the correct tie down locations took a lot of time.”

It took a team of 10 service members to successfully load the trailer. Once the trailer was secured, New reflected on the significance of what he and his team had accomplished.

“It’s always good to be part of the solution,” New said. “It’s what keeps me going.”

Air Force Capt. Thomas Tharp, 22nd AS aircraft commander, takes pride in knowing his crew is assisting people in need.

“It’s great to take a group of guys and do a mission that has a big impact,” Tharp said. “It’s very humbling to pull off a mission with less than 24-hour notification to perfection.”

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