Clearwater USCG on special orders in Puerto Rico

- Three C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircraft from the U.S. Coast Guard air station in Clearwater are shuttling relief supplies and personnel to Puerto Rico.

Two of the station's HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters are there full-time delivering food, water, and supplies to remote mountain communities.

The people who fly the missions say they are rewarding and also exhausting.

"It's a lot of flying and it's fairly stressful. So if you swap out crew every week or so it's going to give you a fresh crew with lots of energy," says LCDR George Menze, a helicopter pilot.

It's been a long hurricane season for the Coast Guard.

Members of the Coast Guard staged major operations in the aftermath of Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Menze says they brought resources to Puerto Rico with as much urgency as they did to Texas and Florida.

"I don't feel it's any less important. In fact, I think it's the same exact importance whether it's Florida, Puerto Rico, or Texas. It's all the same to us,"  Menze said.

Crew members don't know when their special duty in Puerto Rico will end.

"We're there doing great things and we'll be down there until they tell us they don't need us," says LCDR Jeff Jacobs, who was one of the first pilots to fly over the island after Maria.

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