Airmen Shuttle Injured Manatee to New Home

Members of the active duty 6th Air Mobility Wing and Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s 156th Airlift Wing came together on Thursday to airlift an injured West Indian manatee from MacDill AFB, Fla., to its new home in Puerto Rico. The Fish and Wildlife Service asked for assistance in moving the 840-pound male sea mammal, which is named UPC because the injuries to his diaphragm from a boat strike resemble a bar code. Airmen with MacDill’s 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron helped load UPC onto a 156th AW C-130H at the south Florida base for the ride to San Juan. The C-130 was already at MacDill. Biologists and veterinarians accompanied UPC. In Puerto Rico, UPC will serve as a surrogate parent to orphaned manatees in rehabilitation. Eventually he will have a new life at the Puerto Rico Zoo. (MacDill report by MSgt. Bryan Gatewood)