Connecticut sends more guardsmen to Puerto Rico to help with recovery efforts

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH)– Amid the airline traffic at Bradley International Airport Friday morning, a C-130 took to the runway bound for Puerto Rico.

“It’s definitely a fulfilling mission only the guard gets to do,” said Lt. Brian Hinckley, who is one of the pilots onboard the military aircraft . He’s transporting about a dozen members of the Connecticut National Guard.

“I’ve been in the guard for 17 years so it’s been 17 years of preparation. this is kind of what we do,” said Master Sgt. Joshua Mead, who is heading down to Puerto Rico.

Related: New Haven schools get ready for students from Puerto Rico

Today’s crew is the second to go down to Puerto Rico this week, where they will carry out aerial operations. Basically facilitate the arrival and departure of countless aircraft, which are bringing much-needed supplies into the San Juan Airport.

“All equipment and supplies coming in via airlift, that will be us loading and uploading those planes,” Senior Master Sgt. Chris Fanelli told News 8. He is also one of the guardsmen heading to the island.

Some of the supplies going down today include water and generators. Items that are needed on the island.

Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria last week. Some of the pilots from Connecticut have been down there since then. But for many, it’s their first time.

Related: Ham Radio headquarters in Newington assisting with Puerto Rico relief efforts

“We’ve mostly been arriving at night so coming into the island there’s still a lot of power out,” said Lt. Hinckley.

“I’ve heard conditions weren’t great,” said Master Sgt. Mead. “No power, running water. We are probably going to be living out of tents for a while.”

Once the latest group lands in Puerto Rico more than 100 people from Connecticut will be helping with the survivability of the island.

“We have more people volunteering to go on these types of trips then airplanes to put them on, so there’s an outpouring from the state of Connecticut,” said Lt. Hinckley.

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