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This Month in Dobbins History: 94th AW plays role in planned invasion

94th Airlift Wing C-130s sit loaded and prepared to leave at a moment's notice Sept. 1994. Last-minute diplomacy stopped short a planned invasion of Haiti on Sept. 19 that had the wing playing a role. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sandra Donovan)

94th Airlift Wing C-130s sit loaded and prepared to leave at a moment's notice Sept. 1994. Last-minute diplomacy stopped short a planned invasion of Haiti on Sept. 19 that had the wing playing a role. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Sandra Donovan)

DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- Last-minute diplomacy stopped short a planned invasion of Haiti on Sept. 19 that had the 94th Airlift Wing playing a role.

Several days before the planned invasion, the 94th AW was assigned to pull together an operations that would ensure the use of an airfield following the initial airdrop of troops. It was to be carried out by the Air Force Reserve.

While the 94th AW the focal point for the operation, aircraft and crews from all Reserve C-130 flying units were part of the planned operation. That infamous Sunday evening 14 C-130 crews were waiting for the word to depart on the early morning flight to airdrop equipment and troops into Haiti. While the crews waited and rested, other Dobbins ARB operations continued at a hectic pace.

"Saturday and Sunday were intense for us in maintenance," said Chief Master Sgt. Louis Boos, organization maintenance superintendent, 94th Maintenance Squadron. "We knew something was going to happen but didn't know exactly when. What I do know is that we could not have improved how we did it. We were in a real-world situation and the adrenaline was pumping."

Among the duties performed by the maintenance team were refueling the aircraft and uploading defensive systems.

"When President Clinton announced that negotiations to end the crisis had succeeded, it was a great relief for us," said Lt. Col. Norman Bell, deputy commander of operations, 94th AW and the mission commander for the operation.

"It's exciting to gear up for something this significant. You would like to see it through, but lives are more important and we're glad the troops entered Haiti in a peaceful manner."

"The key here is that we were ready to go," added Bell. "It's great to be a part of such a capable force. It's a force that went into the operation with the determination and dedication to bring it to a decisive conclusion. All we needed to be airborne was notification."

Originally published in the Dobbins Air Reserve Base Minuteman by Senior Master Sgt. David Curtis, 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs.