A Hawaii Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft left Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, heading to Puerto Rico to help with the Hurricane Maria relief effort, officials said.
The C-17 with the 204th Airlift Squadron, 154th Wing, is carrying two flight crews and maintenance personnel with 17 airmen in total.
The crew will fly first to Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State to pick up relief supplies and additional personnel, and then initially stage at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. From there, relief supplies will be transported to Puerto Rico, the Hawaii National Guard said.
“Puerto Rico is suffering through a disaster of epic proportions,” Gov. David Ige said in a release. “The people there lack electricity, food, water and fuel. The people of Hawaii will do everything we can to assist our fellow Americans while they work to recover from this horrible devastation.”
The Hawaii Guard said the crew anticipates flying multiple missions, possibly including some to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which was hit by not only by Hurricane Maria but also by Hurricane Irma earlier in September.
The 204th Airlift Squadron is one of three flying units within the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing, the biggest wing in the Air National Guard.