HSC-28 crews return home after helping with Hurricane Harvey relief

Posted at 9:55 PM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 23:15:46-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 is back after a trip to Texas to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

News 3 met up with three crew members who participated in the relief efforts at Naval Station Norfolk.

“Thank you to the Texas people for being such good hosts,” said Aviation Electronics Technician First Class Michael Buchholtz.

Buchholz said he is glad to be back in Hampton Roads after spending about a week rescuing victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The crew brought over thousands of pounds of supplies and came to the aid of hundreds of people, many who were trapped in their homes.

“I don't think you can ever be prepared to fly into tropical storm conditions with that much rain in that much wind or anything else like that,” said Navy Senior Chief Jay O'Konek. “How widespread it was, was also kind of shocking.”

They said they also felt like they received a lot of support from the communities they were there to help.

“That's what we live for as rescue swimmers, to get out and do the job. We don't enjoy the fact that we have to be there, but we're glad we are there when people need us,” said O'Konek.

“The support was overwhelming.  We did not have to worry about whether we were going to get something to eat, or get freshwater," said Navy Senior Chief Christopher Agle. "We were working 16 and 18 hour days easy, flying around the clock, and without the support of local community, it definitely would've made it a lot more difficult to help.”

“I think I came back about five pounds heavier. The food down there is amazing. The people are very thankful. l just want to say thank you for their support. We couldn't have done what we did without them,” said Buchholtz.

Related links:

Full Coverage: Hurricane Harvey hits Texas