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Airlift wing providing more hurricane support

December 03, 1998|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The 167th Airlift Wing is heading back to Central America to deliver emergency hurricane relief supplies, base officials said.

West Virginia Air National Guard Lt. Col. Roger Sencindiver said a flight crew will leave Shepherd Field next Tuesday to take a planeload of medical supplies to Nicaragua.

The mission will be the second relief effort flown by the 167th Airlift Wing to help victims of Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The Martinsburg base sent two planes last month to take 100,000 pounds of emergency food to Honduras.

Sencindiver said a 167th flight crew will pilot a C-130 transport plane to a Project Hope warehouse in Winchester, Va., where the plane will be loaded with emergency medical supplies.

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The plane will then head to Key West, Fla., where the crew will spend the night before flying out at 8 a.m. for Augusto Cesar Sandino Airport in Managua, Nicaragua, Sencindiver said.

Sencindiver said the crew will return to Martinsburg next Wednesday night.

The relief mission is part of a U.S. effort that has committed more than $250 million to help with hurricane devastation that left at least 10,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.

Sencindiver said the Martinsburg unit is not scheduled for any more relief effort missions, and the 167th's special medical unit has been taken off standby for deployment to the Persian Gulf.

The Mobile Aero-Medical Staging Facility had been ordered to prepare itself to support a possible military strike on Iraq over Saddam Hussein's defiance of United Nations weapons inspectors.

The 39-member aero-medical staging team, about one-third of whom are 167th Airlift Wing members, was called for duty in 1990 during the Persian Gulf War.

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