An aircrew from the 312th Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base brought more than 1,300 cases of water to military members and their families at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
The team departed for Hawaii Dec. 5 with the palletized water and other supplies, weighing over 38,000 pounds, aboard a C-5 Galaxy.
The need for bottled water stems from the recent contamination of water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after the late November leak at the Red Hill Water Treatment Facility of about 14,000 gallons of fuel and water from a drain line.
While the Navy originally denied the reports of rashes and the smell of fuel in base water, officials confirmed that petroleum did, in fact, contaminate a well within the Navy water system in Hawaii that serves the housing areas for military families.
Officials have identified three Air Force, five Navy and two Army housing communities affected by the contamination. Within Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, there are about 7,000 housing units for families of all the services. Of those, about 1,400 are in areas that have been affected by these water issues, said Chuck Anthony, spokesman for the joint base.
The commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, has since apologized to military families for telling them on Nov. 29 that the water was safe and that he and his staff were drinking it.
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro also apologized to Hawaii military families and pledged during a town hall meeting Sunday to fix the problem.
Water stations have been set up for families to get potable water and the the Army’s 25th Infantry Division delivered water door to door to residents at the Aliamanu Military Reservation.
Military officials have also set up processes for families to get out of their houses and go to hotels and offered financial assistance to reimburse any incident-related expenses.
The airlift carried out by Travis AFB was part of a coordinated effort with the Defense Logistics Agency, which provides combat logistics support for the Department of Defense.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.