About a half dozen members of the 182ND Airlift Wing returned Wednesday from emotional, disaster relief duty in Texas.
"It was pretty humbling to see the amount of evacuees that were down there that only had a couple of garbage bags worth of belongings to bring out to the airplane. but they were in pretty good spirits," said 182ND Airlift Wing Pilot Matt Cain.
Members of the 182ND Airlift Wing returned to Peoria Wednesday afternoon. For some who had been on previous disaster missions this was the first time they interacted with evacuees.
"Considering some of these people lost everything that was amazing in all of its own. they were singing, they were happy, they were smiling, they cheered when we left the ground knowing they were going some place they could get a better meal, and better accommodations," said Lt. Col. Jeff Teuscher.
The group transported evacuees, medical teams and support personnel from Beaumont to Dallas. For another pilot just out of training this year this first disaster mission was quite a challenge
"The people on the ground organizing the evacuation portion are telling you these people been on the bus for four hours, it was chaotic but just the second you land you see no other plane could have done that. we were able to fit almost four C-130s mixed with coast guard, air force and fit em into a very small space, lead people in and get them out," said Lt. Bryan Walsh.
The group says they're ready for another call if Hurricane Irma creates another disaster in Florida.