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3 Hickam-based aircraft fly to Philippines to support relief efforts

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Three C-17 cargo aircraft from the 15th Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam are supporting relief operations in the Philippines, officials said.

One crew flew to Kadena Air Base in Japan and picked up 12 Marines and 33 tons of cargo, which included a Marine water purification system that will be used to assist in humanitarian operations, said Master Sgt. Victoria Boncz, a spokeswoman for Pacific Air Forces.

The crew offloaded the passengers and equipment at Clark airfield in the Philippines, and returned to Kadena to load up for the next mission to the Philippines.

Two other crews flew to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

One is delayed due to a maintenance issue. Once fixed, it will travel to Manila to drop off Air Component Coordination Element team members to Manila. The ACCE is an Air Force element assisting in planning air component requirements, Boncz said.

The other crew is standing by at Andersen, and will be going to Tacloban Air Base in the Philippines, she said.

They will be taking along members of the 36th Contingency Response Group, a Halvorson K-loader, and a communications kit.

The K-loader enables rapid deployment and sustainment of forces supporting humanitarian operations and disaster relief missions, Boncz said. The K-loader can transport up to six pallets of cargo at a maximum speed of 23 mph.

“It will be a great asset to the humanitarian efforts,” Boncz said.

The communication system is called a DC3 Communication Fly Away Kit, and has classified and unclassified email and telephone communication capabilities, she said.

Two Hawaii Air National Guard C-17 crews also are standing by at Hickam for possible orders to provide relief aid to the Philippines, an official said.

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