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Alaska response equipment flies from Elmendorf to Gulf

Members of the 732nd Air Mobility Squadron push a container of oil boom onto a Tunner loader, which will place the cargo on a waiting C-17 transport plane for delivery to Louisiana Monday evening May 10, 2010 at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The plane at left is already loaded and preparing to taxi for takeoff. The 732nd Air Mobility Squadron and the 3rd Logistical Readiness Squadron were working to place about 500,000 lb. of cargo including boom and skimmer boats onto a series of planes to assist with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The supplies were gathered by BP and the U. S. Navy, said aircraft services superintendent Master Sgt. Jason Bradford. "It's our way of helping out," he said of the transport effort. Bradford anticipated five or six round trips Monday night and Tuesday to deliver all the material.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
A U. S. Navy skimmer boat designed to tow boom and collect oil is ready for placement on a waiting C-17 transport plane for delivery to Louisiana Monday evening May 10, 2010 at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The 732nd Air Mobility Squadron and the 3rd Logistical Readiness Squadron were working to place about 500,000 lb. of cargo including boom and skimmer boats onto a series of planes to assist with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The supplies were gathered by BP and the U. S. Navy, said aircraft services superintendent Master Sgt. Jason Bradford. "It's our way of helping out," he said of the transport effort. Bradford anticipated five or six round trips Monday night and Tuesday to deliver all the material.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
A C-17 transport plane loaded with oil spill supplies for delivery to Louisiana is fueled prior to takeoff Monday evening May 10, 2010 at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The 732nd Air Mobility Squadron and the 3rd Logistical Readiness Squadron were working to place about 500,000 lb. of cargo including boom and skimmer boats onto a series of planes operated by the 517th Airlift Squadron to assist with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The supplies were gathered by BP and the U. S. Navy, said aircraft services superintendent Master Sgt. Jason Bradford. "It's our way of helping out," he said of the transport effort. Bradford anticipated five or six round trips Monday night and Tuesday to deliver all the material.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Members of the 732nd Air Mobility Squadron push a container of oil boom onto a Tunner loader, which will place the cargo on a waiting C-17 transport plane for delivery to Louisiana Monday evening May 10, 2010 at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The 732nd Air Mobility Squadron and the 3rd Logistical Readiness Squadron were working to place about 500,000 lb. of cargo including boom and skimmer boats onto a series of planes to assist with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The supplies were gathered by BP and the U. S. Navy, said aircraft services superintendent Master Sgt. Jason Bradford. "It's our way of helping out," he said of the transport effort. Bradford anticipated five or six round trips Monday night and Tuesday to deliver all the material.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Members of the 732nd Air Mobility Squadron push a container of oil boom onto a Tunner loader, which will place the cargo on a waiting C-17 transport plane for delivery to Louisiana Monday evening May 10, 2010 at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The 732nd Air Mobility Squadron and the 3rd Logistical Readiness Squadron were working to place about 500,000 lb. of cargo including boom and skimmer boats onto a series of planes to assist with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The supplies were gathered by BP and the U. S. Navy, said aircraft services superintendent Master Sgt. Jason Bradford. "It's our way of helping out," he said of the transport effort. Bradford anticipated five or six round trips Monday night and Tuesday to deliver all the material.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
An Air Force C-17 cargo plane from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska devliers oil boom, floats, skimmer boats and other items is unloaded at Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base-Belle Chasse, La. Tuesday, May 11, 2010. The supplies were stored in Alaska as part of a regularly required oil response supply and were transferred by the Unified Command and National Incident Command to help in protection of the Louisiana coast from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This was the third of ten expected flights from Elmendorf.
Susan Poag / The Times-Picayune

Cargo planes from Elmendorf Air Force base are flying equipment to New Orleans to help with oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, the state is offering advice to Gulf states based on experience with the Exxon Valdez.

The equipment, booms and skimmer boats flying out from Elmendorf come from the U.S. Navy and BP, the oil company that leased the exploded drilling rig and owns the well gushing crude oil.

So far, three C-17s from the 517th and 249th Airlift Squadrons have transported 211,000 pounds of equipment to Louisiana. The effort began Monday night and three more flights are scheduled. Elmendorf expects almost 500,000 pounds of equipment to be delivered as part of the operation.

"It's our way of helping out," said Master Sgt. Jason Bradford, Elmendorf aircraft services superintendent.

Sharon Leighow, spokeswoman for Gov. Sean Parnell, said the state has identified more than a dozen environmental conservation specialists who "are ready and willing to travel to the Gulf" if needed. She said the state is also offering advice on potential legal issues. She said the Department of Environmental Conservation's food, sanitation and safety experts have also provided information to Louisiana and Florida on practices for detecting petroleum contamination in seafood.

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council has a representative in the Gulf of Mexico, at the request of the Alabama and Mississippi Sea Grant Consortium, visiting communities in the area. Mark Swanson, executive director of the Prince William Sound advisory council, said people in the area have a lot of questions, and are feeling the stress of not knowing what will happen to their communities and livelihoods. Having someone there who went through it with the Exxon Valdez oil spill seems to help, Swanson said.

Cordova author Riki Ott, a scientist and fisherman who has written about the Exxon Valdez spill, is also on the Gulf coast. She's going to small communities and talking to local fishermen about dispersants, lawyers and what to expect.

Greenpeace brought Rick Steiner, a marine scientist who recently retired from the University of Alaska, to the area to monitor the spill.

Photos: Gulf oil spill airlift from Elmendorf
Anchorage Daily News