Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010

Chief Master Sergeant Tony Travis

When chief master sergeant Antonio "Tony" Travis arrived at the Port-au-Prince airport shortly after January's earthquake, there was only one usable runway, the air-traffic-control tower was structurally unsafe, and 42 aircraft were grounded in a space designed for 12. Time was of the essence: the Haitians were in dire need of supplies that had to be brought in by air, but the damage meant that far fewer planes could be accommodated.

In only 28 minutes, Chief Travis set up a makeshift air-traffic-control operation located midfield. Working from a card table, often standing on chairs, he and his team deftly took control of the arrivals and departures. Under his leadership, planes were able to take off and land every five minutes, bringing in 4 million lb. of supplies. For Haitians unable to get to the capital, his team surveyed and controlled four remote drop zones, providing 150,000 bottles of water and 75,000 packaged meals to people who had no other means of survival.

His actions are an important part of a long tradition of providing relief by air. His dedication and service — and those of his fellow men and women in the armed services — represent the best of humanity.

Sullenberger is the pilot who landed a damaged passenger plane safely in the Hudson River in 2009

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