FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The wind raged between 110 and 155 miles per hour Sept. 20 as Hurricane Maria hit the United States territory of Puerto Rico. Power was knocked out across the island, infrastructure collapsed, plants were uprooted from the ground and water flooded across large areas. Two months later, those living on the island are still working to rebuild.
Staff Sgt. Anthony Hooper, 92 Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance craftsman, returned Dec. 1 from Puerto Rico after working with members from around the Air Force, Air National Guard and the local populous to repair and maintain vehicle assets supporting the humanitarian relief effort.
“Hooper is one of our top notch NCO's overseeing vehicle repairs in Puerto Rico,” said Master Sgt. Calvin Bishun, 92nd LRS Vehicle Management Superintendent. “He works with a team of two Puerto Rico State Guardsmen, two Air National Guardsmen and one active duty member. There have been numerous challenges trying to maintain the vehicle fleet, but SSgt Hooper was able to overcome parts procurement and maintenance issues to provide support for all recovery operations.”
According to the National Broadcasting Company, two months after the incident, roughly 54% of Puerto Rico is still without power, telecommunications are operating at 75% and one in 10 Puerto Ricans does not have access to drinkable water.
Hooper is contributing to the Hurricane Maria relief effort by fixing active duty vehicle assets required to distribute needed supplies to the local populous.
“Active duty members from all over the world have been brought to Puerto Rico to help with aid,” Hooper said. “There are not enough Guard members to provide support, so active duty Airmen fill in where needed.”
Hooper also performs wrecker duty, a job that entails towing broken assets to be repaired so aid efforts can continue.
During his down time, Hooper volunteers in the local community by distributing supplies to families in need, to include crates of water and MRE’s.
“Being down here and having the opportunity to volunteer and help out outside of regular duties has been a very rewarding experience,” Hooper said.