48th Aerial Port Squadron supports relief efforts to Maui

  • Published
  • By James Bowman
  • 624 Regional Support Group

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 48th Aerial Port Squadron assigned to the 624th Regional Support Group, perform a joint inspection on vehicles and cargo for the Honolulu Fire Department in response to the wildfires on the island of Maui, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 10, 2023. 

A joint inspection ensures equipment and cargo loaded onto a 154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard, C-17 Globemaster lll are airworthy, safe and properly configured.

“To assemble a team with the right experience and qualifications on such short notice was key to providing the level of support needed for a disaster of this nature. Having well trained Reserve Citizen Airmen who can assess the situation and step in where needed is priceless,” said Master Sgt. Shane Costa, 48th APS specialist.

The 48th APS coordination with the Honolulu Fire Department and other agencies was essential to the success of this mission. By finding out what the customer needs, experienced Aerial Porters can accurately assess manpower, equipment, fuel level limitations and shoring requirements prior to loading onto the C-17.

"It was a great collaboration between Honolulu Fire, 48th Aerial Port Squadron Reservists, 735th Air Mobility Squadron/Active Duty, and the Hawaii Air National Guard. It was a unique experience connecting all the different military and civilian personnel and organizations that I either work for or with, to achieve a common goal," said Battalion Chief Paul Fukuda, Honolulu Fire Department. "We all came together to help the people of Maui. It was amazing and I thank everyone who came and supported this mission."

Forming strong relationships with outside agencies makes everyone’s job easier. By working with the HFD allowed both sides to understand what is needed to complete the mission and to be better prepared for disasters in the future.  

“It was crucial to respond to this mission with the utmost care, consideration and provide relief efforts to the island of Maui,” said Senior Airman Kanoe Key, 48th APS specialist. “This real-world disaster gave less experienced Airmen and me the chance to understand the process better and acquire skill sets outside of our normal duties, making us more well-rounded Aerial Porters.”

The C-17 transported Honolulu Fire Department personnel, vehicles, and relief cargo to the impacted communities on the island of Maui.