Mission to Haiti - Day 2 - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mission to Haiti - Day 2

By Katina Rankin - bio | email

Many different components go into pulling off a humanitarian effort like the one in Haiti.

Lt. Col. Scott Ditto is the commander of this mission. He's in control of the throttle and getting the crew to and from their different destinations.

Col. Ditto has two co-pilots, from Anchorage, Alaska, to assist him.

"We bring three people along with us for long days like this so one person can rest the whole time. And two people are flying the aircraft" said Lt. Col Ditto.

Flying the 535-thousand pound bird is just the beginning. On every flight a maintenance crew is on board just in case anything goes wrong with the plane.

Brandon Jennings makes sure the wings of the deep south soar high and smoothly.

"On trips, we primarily refuel, inspect and fix anything mission critical that happens in our system. At home, we're pretty much responsible for everything: from the smallest thing to the biggest" said Airman Jennings.

And then there are the loadmasters making sure any and all cargo fit securely into the aircraft; as soon as possible.

"Very fast, very quick. We unloaded seven vehicles and 7 pallets in about 20 to 25 minutes. Very effective" said loadmaster Allen Randall

The Ravens make sure everyone is secure. They are the unit's anti-terrorism folks; armed with 9 millimeters, rifles and sawed off shotguns.

"We have weapon systems. And we provide air crew protection for air crew and the airplane. That's basically what we do. You have sometimes - people try to get on an aircraft to take control of the aircraft so it's our duty to protect this aircraft and make sure nothing happens" said Raven Marco Berry.

By the time our men and women step onto the plane, they are covered: from maintenance and cargo, to world class pilots and protection.

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AP contributed to this report.

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