An aircrew from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, was recognized at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference on Monday. Chattanooga native Capt. Jordan Howen was part of that crew.
The aircrew, assigned to the 6th Airlift Squadron, received the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association Humanitarian Mission of the Year Award in a presentation by F. Whitten Peters, AFA Chairman of the Board, and Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander.
“The crew’s professional Airmanship resulted in the successful execution of a Presidential order to deliver humanitarian support to Haiti following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew,” according to the award citation. “With minimal notice, the crew flew a challenging 18-hour mission and proved instrumental in delivering the 1st Joint Task Force-Port Opening team to aid in disaster relief efforts.”
The Airmen received notice they would deploy in support of Hurricane Matthew disaster relief efforts Oct. 5, 2016 and immediately went into standby, said Capt. Gary Rogers, REACH 184 deputy chief and 6th AS C-17A pilot. They began their mission at approximately 3 a.m. Oct. 6, 2016.
“The biggest challenge of the mission was avoiding the hurricane itself,” said Capt. Jordan Howen, REACH 184 flight commander and 6th AS C-17A instructor pilot, as he recalled the crew’s mission. Air traffic control challenges also contributed to the complexity of the mission.
Once the C-17A crew arrived in Haiti, its cargo enabled the loading and unloading of more than 600,000 pounds of other humanitarian cargo, said Howen.
While appreciative of the recognition, the crew gave credit to the entire team.
“We couldn’t have done it without the support of the whole squadron,” said Capt. Howen. “The schedulers and tacticians put together a mission computer approach, which AMC built for this type of operation.”
Capt. Rogers agreed. He said, “It took the entire crew working together, battling fatigue, weather and air traffic control to complete the 18-hour duty day.”
The AMC commander expressed his pride with the team’s flexibility and versatility to overcome challenges and carry out the mission.
“These Airmen represent the powerful effects AMC delivers for our nation,” said Gen. Everhart. “Delivering hope and relief to others sends a powerful message about what our country and our Airmen represent.”
The REACH 184 aircrew included: Capt. Jordan Howen, Capt. Evan Allen, Capt. Gary Rogers, Staff Sgt. Breck Martin, and Senior Airman Stephanie Benci.