MARINE CORPS AIR STATION KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii --
U.S. Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 153 (VMGR-153), Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, answered the call on Aug. 14 and Aug. 22, 2023 to assist Joint Task Force 50 (JTF-50) in their efforts to provide relief in the wake of the devastating Maui wildfires of Aug. 8. VMGR-153 facilitated the transport of personnel and equipment with their KC-130J Hercules in support of Maui response efforts.
The KC-130J Hercules is most recognized for its incredible versatility, including medical evacuations, cargo and personnel transportation, air support and reconnaissance, and the ability to land in austere environments. The aircraft can support humanitarian, special operations, aerial refueling, firefighting, and search and rescue missions around the globe.
VMGR-153’s flight on Aug. 14 transported Hawaii National Guardsmen with JTF-50, the command-and-control element that will coordinate Department of Defense response efforts. The Aug. 22 flight transported personnel and equipment with the U.S. Navy’s Mobile Dive and Salvage unit.
VMGR-153 is a relatively new squadron in Hawaii, formally activated less than a year ago, that has quickly demonstrated dedication to service and professionalism with adept pilots, aircrew, and maintainers.
“Our squadron was on standby, and when we heard that JTF-50 requested our support, we were excited to help. Times like this are why we work and train so hard, to excel in both combat and humanitarian missions at a moment’s notice. We are always happy to help when needed,” said Capt. Ezekiel Cary, who piloted the Aug. 14 flight.
“Joining the Marine Corps, that’s one of the things that I wanted to do, is to be able to be ready to support in any way that I can during humanitarian and disaster relief events. I was glad we could answer the call because we were here and ready,” Cary added.
VMGR-153’s recent assistance highlights the importance of unified joint-force efforts and how they can be critical in disaster response. As the island of Maui looks toward a road to recovery, VMGR-153 remains steadfast in its commitment to stand by the community’s side. The squadron’s ability to rapidly respond and provide support in times of need embodies the principles of service and dedication that define the United States Marine Corps.
U.S. Marines in Hawaii remain postured to support emergency relief efforts to the island of Maui in accordance with U.S. federal law and upon appropriate government authorities. The Marine Corps remains prepared to continue support once the Federal Emergency Management Agency determines what is necessary.