Governor Charlie Baker on GHS tells the remarkable story behind Patriots jet saving the day

Rob Bradford
April 10, 2020 - 9:43 am

One of the great images of people helping people in the last few weeks was that of the Patriots' team plane transporting much-needed surgical masks from China to the United States. 

In a wide-ranging interview on The Greg Hill Show Friday morning, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker gave the back-story to how that unique partnership took place:

"After we had the incident at the Port of New York I started calling people I knew in Massachusetts who had global relationships. And one of the great things about Massachusetts, we have a lot of global citizens. … What I was looking for is somebody who could actually help me purchase N95 masks somewhere else. And eventually, I came across some folks who could help me purchase a significant amount of N95 masks in China. Then the question became how do we get them back to the U.S.? We basically concluded that doing something with traditional commercial transport either by boat or by plane would be risky and we needed to come up with a big private plane.

"Now, there are lots of small private planes but if you want to get a big cargo you need a big private plane. As I thought about that I remembered that the Patriots have a big private plane. So I called Jonathan Kraft and said, ‘I think I have a path to purchase a significant number of N95 masks which we really need.’ I asked the Krafts if they would be willing to spearhead the process of working with us to get the plane out of the U.S. into China and back. Eventually, it became like a humanitarian mission. The flight path was basically Boston to Alaska where people sort of slept and refreshed themselves and then Alaska to the airport in China. Then three hours on the ground, nobody got off the plane, nobody came into the plane. The only part of the plane that was open was the cargo hold and the gear was put by a China company into the cargo hold. We had a three-hour window they permitted the plane to be on the ground. They were on the ground for 2 hours and 57 minutes. Then they flew back to Alaska and flew from Alaska the next day back to Boston.

"It was a lot of moving parts to that thing and a lot of people both in the U.S. and in China were very helpful in making it happen. And we really needed it."