Humanitarian aid from Travis Air Force Base heads to Mexico, Caribbean

Travis Air Force Base is a hub for mobilizing disaster relief, but rarely experiences a season as busy as this.

"With the onset of Harvey, it's basically been a 24 hour hour operation out of here," Capt. Lyndsey Horn told KTVU, walking the flight line where a few dozen transport aircraft sit.

The Fairfield base of 10,000 workers is a hub for getting people and equipment where they're needed most. But with so many disasters overlapping, Capt. Horn says a lot of planning is happening on the fly.

"We have medical supplies, generators, meals ready-to-eat, a humvee," she said, showing a fully-loaded C-5 Supergalaxy, which carries more cargo, more distance than any other transport aircraft.

The equipment is destined for Hurricane Maria's disaster zone, along with a sixty person team, on standby. 

"They try to time it as well as they can, that the moment that hurricane has passed, they're on the ground," explained Horn.

Travis AFB sent critical care teams into Hurricane Irma's hard-hit areas. And base logistics specialists find ways to get what's wrecked- working again. 

"Down in St. Thomas, they lost their ability to control air traffic, so we were able to take them, basically a mobile air traffic control center," noted Horn.

After three hurricanes in a row, now Mexico needs supplies and skills.

Wednesday night, Travis pilots picked up a search and rescue squad in Los Angeles and flew them and their gear into the quake zone.  

Thursday evening, a task force made up mostly of Sacramento firefighters, was packing pallets with shovels, jacks, fuel, and chain saws. They were alerted just hours before, FEMA is activating them for Puerto Rico aid.

"Seeing the devastation just in videos is challenging to watch, and we're going to get that first hand," said Brian Gonsalves, a member of California Task Force 7.

It's an open-ended mission, and it will he Gonsalves' first:

"So it's just a matter of figuring out what that mission is, and get intelligence prior to us getting there, so we can set ourselves up mentally for what we're going to be faced with," he anticipated.

Travis personnel are proud of their rapid mobilization abilities, which make them a 9-1-1- responder in times of crisis.

"We're never happy to go, but we're humbled to go," concluded Captain Horn, "and what we try to do is lean forward so our civil authorities know we're prepared. When they make that call, they're going to get a great force, ready to help out."