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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

908th joins relief efforts in Haiti

The 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base is supporting the military’s relief efforts in Haiti.

The state’s only Air Force Reserve unit began sending aircraft and personnel on Friday and another crew took off Monday morning with vehicles loaded on its C-130 Hercules cargo plane. Several missions took place over the weekend and more are expected this week.

Col. Brett Clark said the wing is coordinating with other military commands to support the relief effort. It’s tough to get into Haiti because of the volume of traffic of relief efforts at Port-au-Prince airport, he said.

Members of the 908th started volunteering for the humanitarian mission shortly after the massive earthquake hit Haiti, Clark said.

“The volunteerism has really done by heart proud,” Clark said.

Capt. David Kemp was the co-pilot on the C-130 that left Wednesday. He and the rest of the 8-person crew took several vehicles including a Humvee and Gators to Haiti.

Kemp said it’s rewarding to participate in the humanitarian mission, but they aren’t sure what to expect when they get there.

“We know it’s not going to be pretty,” he said.

Tech. Sgt. Glenn Swindle expects to be on a mission to Haiti later this week. He’s an Air Reserve Technician at the 908th, meaning he’s a traditional reservist and works as a civilian at the 908th during the week.
“I hate it for those folks, but I’m glad we’re able to help like this,” Tech. Sgt. Glenn Swindle said. “If we’re going to spend the money and fuel and train, this is what we need to be doing.”

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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