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HIANG lends a helping hand

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard assist a Haitian
citizen as he boards the C-17 in Port-au-Prince Haiti, Thursday, January 21, 2010. (Air Force Times photo/Sheila Vemmer)

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard assist a Haitian citizen as he boards the C-17 in Port-au-Prince Haiti, Thursday, January 21, 2010. (Air Force Times photo/Sheila Vemmer)

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard help unload
supplies in support of Operation United Command, January 21, 2010. (Air Force Times photo/Sheila Vemmer)

Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard help unload supplies in support of Operation United Command, January 21, 2010. (Air Force Times photo/Sheila Vemmer)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii -- The 154th Wing deployed assets from the 204th Airlift Squadron in conjunction with the 15th Airlift Wing to Charleston Air Force Base, Jan. 20, in support of the Haitian relief effort, Operation Unified Command.

A 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti Jan. 12, resulting in over 200,000 deaths, widespread damage and thousands of injuries. In response to the devastation, the U. S. Air Force has been a part of a joint, interagency team supporting an international effort to bring humanitarian assistance to the Haitian people.

"Seeing the devastation in Haiti makes us very aware of how lucky we are to have what we have," said Lt. Col. Andrew Leshikar, 535th Airlift Squadron, commander.

"We look forward to being able to provide critical supplies to the people of Haiti in their time of need."

"It's definitely exciting," said Capt. Robert Zeitz, 204 AS pilot. "I'm a pretty new pilot with the 204th Airlift Squadron, so I haven't been able to do any humanitarian missions yet. This is the first one, so it feels good to help out."

According to Lt. Col. Gregory Woodrow, commander  204th Airlift Squadron, the Hawaii crews will be thrown into a mix of active duty and Guard members. They fly Mainland C-17s as well as Hawaii's planes into Haiti.