USAFE Humanitarian Operations
We usually think of air power as the ability to attack and destroy military targets in wartime, but the concept is really much broader than that. There is no better proof than what the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) has done since 1945.
In addition to combat and peacekeeping operations, the command has conducted over 160 humanitarian relief operations, ranging from the Berlin Airlift and relief in the Balkans to responding to natural disasters. At the same time it supported peace and stability in Europe and served as the cornerstone of the NATO alliance, it saved lives throughout Europe and the Middle East, and as far away as India. In fact, it conducted its first humanitarian operation before the guns in the Second World War had fallen silent, when it joined the Royal Air Force in a combined operation to drop food to the starving people of Nazi-occupied Holland in April and May of 1945.
In a survey of how US forces have been used in non-combat roles, two scholars noted that "No nation has been as active as the United States in providing disaster assistance and similar supportive activities." USAFE has been in the forefront of that effort, and doubtless will continue to make a unique contribution in the years ahead.
28 Apr-8 May 45
- British and American bombers dropped food to the starving people of Nazi-occupied Holland. 5,300 sorties dropped just over 12,000 tons. One B-17 went down over the North Sea (10 aboard died; 2 survivors). The Americans called their part of the operation Chowhound; the British called theirs Manna.
- USAFE C-47s and B-17s flew 7,700 Greek soldiers and displaced persons from Munich, Germany, to Athens.
- To counter a cholera epidemic, USAFE flew vaccines to Egypt as well as two specially modified C-47s that sprayed DDT over the affected area.
26 Jun 48
- The Berlin Airlift began in response to the Soviet blockade of land travel into that city. The nickname for the American efforts was Operation Vittles; the British initially called their airlift Carter Paterson but soon changed the name to Plainfare. The Soviets ended the blockade of West Berlin on 12 May 49, but airlift stockpiling continued for five months. A US C-54 made the last flight 30 September. The British and American air forces had flown about 2,326,204 tons of supplies to Berlin in 277,264 flights.
- USAFE C-54s airlifted 10 tons of emergency medical supplies and serum needed to combat a cholera and typhus plague in India.
- USAFE's Twelfth Air Force provided two C-47s to spray insecticide in the region around New Delhi, India, to combat a plague of locusts.
Late Nov 51
- A C-82 from USAFE's 60th Troop Carrier Wing transported Red Cross supplies and clothing collected by the German Youth Activities Center in Frankfurt to areas in Italy after the Po River flooded and left hundreds of people homeless.
- A USAFE C-119 transported 2,000 pounds of clothing and toys donated by the children of Akron, Ohio, to children in Berlin.
30 Jan 52
- A C-119 from USAFE's 433d Troop Carrier Wing flew two tons of apples from German farmers in Hessen to children in Iceland.
31 Jan 53
- Flood waters breached the seawalls and dikes on the east coast of England, killing 307 people, including 17 Americans. USAFE units responded by evacuating people and providing emergency supplies of food and clothing.
3-17 Feb 53
- In the worst disaster to hit the Netherlands in over 300 years, high tides and gale-force winds breached the dikes in several dozen places; 1,395 people died. Nine USAFE C-119s and one C-82 airlifted 1,134,100 pounds of supplies and emergency equipment to the disaster area and air dropped 660,000 pounds of supplies. (Air Rescue Service aircraft under USAFE operational control flew 198 sorties, evacuated 161 people and delivered 32,000 pounds of relief supplies.)
- Following an earthquake in Turkey, four C-119s from USAFE's 60th Troop Carrier Wing flew 18 tons of Red Cross medical supplies to Istanbul.
6 Jul 53
- USAFE began Operation Kinderlift. The command flew Berlin children to West Germany to enjoy a summer vacation in German and American homes. The program continued each summer through 1958.
28 Jul 53
- USAFE flew three tons of mushrooms from Germany to the University of Michigan to help develop a serum to treat tumors.
14-21 Aug 53
- After violent earthquakes struck the Greek Ionian Islands, 20 C-119s from the 60th and 317th Troop Carrier Wings flew 270,000 pounds of relief supplies to Athens, and six H-13 helicopters flew to Araxos to help rescue survivors.
27 Sep 53
- A USAFE SA-16 crashed in the Persian Gulf while flying a sailor stricken with polio to a hospital on shore.
13-16 Jan 54
- Air Rescue Service H-19 helicopters under USAFE operational control delivered 2,000 pounds of Red Cross supplies and equipment and evacuated 68 people following an avalanche near Blons, Austria.
17 Feb 54
- A C-119 from USAFE's 465th Troop Carrier Group dropped 10 tons of food and emergency supplies to Juist island in the East Frisian chain after ice floes cut off travel from the mainland.
2-16 Apr 54
- USAFE C-119s and C-54s flew emergency supplies to Damascus, Syria, and Baghdad, Iraq, to aid flood-stricken areas. Air Rescue Service helicopters from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, flying under USAFE operaitonal control, also assisted Iraqi flood victims, dropping 30,000 pounds of food to refugees in the Tigris valley.
14-22 May 54
- Three USAFE C-119s airlifted 21,000 pounds of emergency Red Cross supplies and food to victims of an earthquake at Larissa, Greece.
- Seven USAFE C-119s delivered relief supplies to India.
11-17 Sep 54
- Following a devastating earthquake that struck the Algerian city of Orleansville, USAFE airlifted 31 tons of emergency equipment, critical medical supplies, and food to the area. The command also provided medical treatment and evacuated critically injured people.
USAFE provided relief supplies and clothing to flood victims at Schierstein, near Wiesbaden, Germany.
A C-47 from USAFE's 60th Troop Carrier Wing rushed Red Cross food and medical supplies to Volos, Greece, after earthquakes devastated that area of the country.
31 Aug 55
USAFE delivered 100,000 square feet of Air Force canvas tarpaulin to Lyon, France, to be used as temporary cover for factory roofs destroyed by severe hail storms. This helped avert unemployment in the damaged plants.
USAFE flew a rare drug from Rhein-Main to Vicenza, Italy, to treat an infant with leukemia.
The worst snowstorms in the twentieth century hit the Mediterranean area. In response, under an emergency operation nicknamed Snowbound, USAFE airlifted 424 tons of supplies from West Germany to thousands of people isolated in northern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, and Greece.
In Operation Butterball, six USAFE C-119s flew 178,000 pounds of food and 125 tents to destitute families in Turkey. A series of earthquakes, floods, and fires had plagued the country.
Late Mar 56
USAFE aircraft rushed 37,000 pounds of supplies to victims of earthquakes in Lebanon.
Two USAFE C-119s and a C-124 airlifted 54,000 pounds of Red Cross supplies to Teheran, Iran, for victims of a flash flood.
29 Oct 56
Israel invaded Egypt. USAFE evacuated 485 US citizens from Tel Aviv, Damascus, and other cities, using 39 C-119s, four C-124s, and four C-54s.
10 Nov-21 Dec 56
Ten C-124s, 24 C-119s, and five C-54s airlifted 1,454 soldiers of the United Nations emergency force and half a million pounds of their equipment to Naples. (The Egyptians restricted Western military flights into their country, so the UN troops covered the last leg of their trip on Swissair ).
During the unsuccessful Hungarian revolt against the communist regime, USAFE collected and delivered 454,000 pounds of relief supplies for refugees who fled across the border to Austria. Between 11 December and mid-January 1957, the command provided logistics and maintenance support at Rhein-Main AB and Neubiberg AB in Germany for the airlift of 11,209 refugees to the US under Operations Safe Haven I and II.
27-29 Jun 57
USAFE flew approximately 400,000 pounds of insecticide from Morocco to Tunisia to help combat a locust plague.
USAFE airlifted a 100-bed hospital to Morocco in response to a widespread outbreak of food poisoning.
4 Dec 59
The Malpasset Dam burst near the small city of Fréjus on the French Riviera, leaving 323 dead and over 200 people missing. Within 48 hours, USAFE began supplying emergency supplies, food, and clothing.
29 Feb 60
A devastating earthquake struck the Moroccan city of Agadir, killing more than 10,000 people (a quarter of the population). Within 48 hours, USAFE began airlifting US Army troops and rescue equipment to the city. USAFE people helped rescue trapped victims, cleared debris, rendered first aid, built temporary living quarters, and provided food and clothing. In addition to evacuating hundreds of injured people, the command airlifted 575 tons of cargo and 481 people to Morocco. By the time the operation ended 14 March, USAFE had flown 39 C-130, eight C-124, and five C-119 sorties.
USAFE flew a diabetic 17-year-old German from Spangdahlem AB to Rhein-Main for treatment at a special clinic at Frankfurt that saved his life.
8-20 Jul 60
USAFE and US Army Europe transports and helicopters rescued 2,640 refugees fleeing rioting native troops in the Congo. The USAFE contingent totaled 18 C-130s, 10 C-124s, one C-118, and 10 C-47s.
15-18 Jul 60
Because of severe food shortages in the Congo, USAFE and the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) airlifted 400 tons of wheat to Leopoldville in Operation Safari.
15 Jul 60
At the United Nation's (UN) request, USAFE and MATS began airlifting UN emergency force troops and cargo to the strife-torn Congo. The operation was nicknamed New Tape and lasted until 29 November 1963, as the US assisted UN troop rotations in and out of the Congo and sustained forces there. Overall statistics are unavailable, but by the end of 1962, USAFE and MATS had flown 2,850 sorties, delivering 21,000 tons of supplies and transporting 94,000 passengers.
Aircraft of USAFE's 7310th Air Base Wing, Rhein-Main AB, flew 5,000 pounds of food, clothes and other items donated by women's organizations at the base to Berlin for use by East German refugees there. The project, called Operation Helfen, was repeated in October 1961.
7-11 Nov 60
Following two cyclones and associated tidal waves that devastated East Pakistan, killed more than 4,000 people, and left over 100,000 homeless, six USAFE C-130s airlifted 77.4 tons of US Army supplies to support US emergency relief.
10-18 Dec 60
At the request of the Pakistani Air Force, USAFE airlifted 600 tons of cement and 64 tons of heavy construction equipment from Peshawar Air Base and airdropped them over Chilas Airfield to assist a road-building project in Northern Pakistan. Six C-130s flew a total of 55 sorties during the project, known as Operation Road Grader.
Sixteen C-130s flew 1,000 tons of food to famine-stricken areas of the Congo.
A C-130 assigned to USAFE's 322 Airlift Division flew a rare drug from England to France needed to treat a woman with a serious blood condition.
A USAFE C-130 flew blankets and tents to flood-stricken areas near Amman, Jordan.
A USAFE C-130 flew relief supplies and 3,000 blankets to the fire-ravaged area of El Hundaydah, Yemen.
USAFE airlifted food and relief supplies to Benghazi, Libya, for flood victims near there following a severe storm. At the same time, a C-54 from Wheelus AB searched for a Greek fishing boat that sank during the storm.
A USAFE C-47 flew a seriously ill Italian navy lieutenant from Aviano AB to Taranto for medical treatment.
A C-130 flew 60 tons of insecticide to Egypt to help save the cotton crop.
12-16 Nov 61
A USAFE C-130 dropped 24 tons of food and emergency supplies to flood victims in Garissa and Ambaseli, Kenya.
18 Nov 61
USAFE C-124s and C-130s airlifted 259 tons of food and medicine to victims of flooding in Somalia from mid-November to mid-January 1962.
9 Dec 61
A C-124 evacuated 139 Americans from Katanga province in the Congo after factional fighting there.
3 Feb 62
A helicopter from the 7231st Technical Training Squadron, Cigli AB, Turkey, rescued a farm family stranded by floodwaters.
18-20 Feb 62
USAFE airlifted 235,000 pounds of emergency supplies from its bases in Germany to Hamburg to aid victims of a disastrous flood along the northern coast. The command also provided helicopters and people to drop supplies and rescue Germans in the flooded area.
9 Mar 62
USAFE units in Turkey joined in efforts to find a Turkish airliner that had crashed in the mountains north of Incirlik. USAFE's aircraft located the crash site and command personnel organized the rescue party.
15 Mar 62
USAFE provided emergency assistance to flood victims near Tripoli, Libya.
A T-33 from USAFE's 20th Tactical Fighter Wing flew critically needed medicine to Spain, delivering it within seven and a half hours of receipt of the request.
Two C-124s flew 77 missions to Tanganyika, air dropping 1,543 tons of grain to flood victims near Dar es Salaam.
3 Sep - 15 Oct 62
USAFE airlifted medical technicians and one million pounds of emergency relief supplies (including a US Army hospital) to aid victims of a devastating earthquake in northwestern Iran that killed over 10,000 people and left up to 100,000 more homeless. Originally called Helping Hand, the operation eventually was called Ida. It was the first emergency mission of the Talking Bird airborne command post, which provided airborne and initial on-site communications following the disaster. Twenty-eight USAFE C-130s and five MATS C-124s took part, flying a total of 39 sorties.
USAFE airlifters flew helicopters to East Pakistan to be used in recovery operations following storms and high winds.
11 Dec 62
Two USAFE C-130s flew 14,000 blankets from France and Germany to flood victims in Tunisia.
9-20 Jan 63
Floods in Rabat Province, Morocco, left 100,000 people homeless. USAFE C-130s (and MATS C-124s under USAFE operational control) delivered over 732,000 pounds of supplies and equipment, along with medical teams and support personnel. American Army and Air Force helicopters helped evacuate almost 2,000 people from rooftops, haystacks, and other high points in the Rharb valley in Operation Clear Lens.
17 Jan 63
As part of Operation Clear Lens, a T-39 from Wiesbaden Air Base delivered 400 pounds of typhoid serum to Sidi Slimane Air Base, Morocco, five and half hours after HQ USAFE received the requirement.
HH-19 helicopters under USAFE operational control rescued 90 people near Misis, Turkey, after the Ceyha river flooded.
17-18 Feb 63
Flying under USAFE operational control, two Air Rescue Service helicopters from Moron AB, Spain, evacuated 69 people trapped by flood waters at the town of Ecija.
21-28 Feb 63
Four hours after a severe earthquake at Barce, Libya, on 21 February, six USAFE aircraft lifted rescue and medical personnel and supplies from Wheelus Air Base to the disaster scene.
19-30 Jun 63
Operation Mountain Top: four MATS C-124s and a USAFE C-130 delivered 664 tons of supplies to four airfields under construction in northern Pakistan.
27 Jul - 14 Aug 63
In Operation Blue Boy, the 322d Air Division airlifted the US Army's 8th Evacuation Hospital and a German technical assistance group from Germany to Belgrade, Yugoslavia, to aid victims of the Skopje earthquake. A fleet of 26 USAFE C-130s transported 275 Army medical personnel and 532,000 pounds of equipment. Other US Air Force C-130s and C-124s delivered medical supplies, blood plasma, food rations, and clothing.
USAFE provided earthquake relief to stricken areas in northwestern Iran.
10 Oct 63
An HH-43 from the Air Rescue Service detachment at Aviano AB, Italy, saved 15 people threatened by flood waters in northern Italy. Other helicopters airlifted medics and supplies to the stricken areas.
late Nov 63
USAFE's 7227th Combat Support Group delivered four truckloads of supplies to earthquake victims at Skopje, Yugoslavia.
3 Apr 64
USAFE-controlled C-130s and C-124s deployed a United Nations peacekeeping force to Cyprus, delivering 3,351 troops and 405 tons of cargo,. Before the operation ended on 13 June, C-130s had flown 50 sorties (909.45 flying hours), while the C-124s had flown 28 (667.30 flying hours).
7 Sep 64
Congolese rebel leader Christophe Gbenye declared war on the United States, seized some 2,000 Europeans and Americans as hostages, and prevented International Red Cross officials from entering rebel-held territory. From 17 to 21 November, 15 rotational C-130s under USAFE's control deployed to the Congo, carrying 571 Belgian paratroopers to rescue the Europeans and Americans seized by Gbenye's forces. In Operation Dragon Rouge, the paratroopers rescued 1,600 hostages at Stanleyville 23 November. A second operation, Dragon Noir, rescued about 400 more at Paulis three days later. The C-130s returned the Belgian soldiers to Brussels 28 November - 1 December.
30 Dec 65
Tactical Air Command rotational C-130s under USAFE's operational control flew 125 tons of tents to Rabat, Morocco, for victims of a flood at Ksar-es-Souk.
A USAFE C-130 flew 10 tons of bedding to Djerba/Mellita Airport for delivery to flood victims at the nearby Tunisian seacoast town of Zarzis.
30 Mar - 23 May 65
C-124s under USAFE operational control flew 2,978 Irish and Danish UN peacekeepers and 76 tons of cargo to Cyprus.
15-21 Sep 65
C-130s from MATS' 322d Air Division evacuated 1,000 Americans from the subcontinent in Operation Nice Way after India and Pakistan went to war.
USAFE helicopters rescued 43 people trapped by floods in Italy.
20-29 Aug 66
An intense earthquake struck four Turkish provinces near the Soviet, Iranian, and Iraqi borders. Initial Turkish estimates reported 149 villages destroyed, over 2,300 dead, and about the same number injured. Res-ponding immediately, USAFE flew in 95,412 pounds of cargo, including a 36-bed hospital, a 5,100-gallon water filtration unit, generators, blankets, medicines, food, and medical personnel to care for the injured. A unit of The US Logistics Group (TUSLOG) treated more than 1,000 victims.
16 Jan - 2 Feb 67
The command conducted a humanitarian airlift to assist the Italian government in caring for the victims of a devastating earthquake, which occurred in Sicily on 15 January. During the airlift, Military Airlift Command C-124s and C-130s under USAFE's operational control airlifted 107 passengers and 423,054 pounds of food, tents, blankets, medical supplies, and other needed items.
3-24 Apr 67
A USAFE task force of 86 people and 14 firefighting pumpers, dump trucks, and other support vehicles from Third Air Force bases assisted British authorities in the clean-up of oil spilled by the supertanker Torrey Canyon. The tanker went aground off the English coast on 18 March and broke up under the pounding of heavy seas. Thousands of tons of crude oil spilled into the sea, creating a 100-square-mile oil slick.
15 May 67
USAFE made a C-124 available to help fly 95 tons of emergency supplies to flood victims in Ethiopia.
5 Jun 67
War broke out between Israel and the Arab states. Officials at Wheelus Air Base, Libya, moved about 1,000 US citizens onto the base because of growing local hostility. Between 6 and 10 June the Air Force airlifted 7,095 US and third-country citizens from Wheelus to USAFE bases in Europe (Operation Creek Haven). In addition, US transports evacuated 812 US citizens and others from Jordan on 10-11 June (Operation Creek Dipper). In all, the Air Force evacuated almost 8,000 people between 5 and 11 June.
21 Jul 67
An earthquake rocked Adapari near Istanbul, Turkey. HQ USAFE provided medical supplies for use by Turkish authorities aiding victims of the disaster.
16 Jan - 2 Feb 68
Seven C-124s and six C-130s under the operational control of USAFE's 7310th Tactical Airlift Wing responded to an earthquake in Sicily by airlifting 59 relief workers and 168 tons of equipment into the area.
6 Feb 68
USAFE provided air rescue support to the US destroyer Bache after high winds ran the ship aground on the Greek island of Rhodes.
20 Feb 68
USAFE's 7206th Combat Support Group provided 27 tents, 1,400 blankets and medical supplies to Greek officials in Athens following an earthquake on the islands of Limnos and Agios Evstratios in the northern Aegean. The tents provided temporary shelter for 700 people made homeless by the quake.
15 May 68
USAFE provided one C-124 to airlift relief supplies to flood victims in Ethiopia.
8 Aug 68
Two USAFE medics died when the US Army helicopter they were riding in crashed after picking up a critically wounded Turkish official.
After an earthquake hit Iran, two C-133s under USAFE operational control flew 57 tons of tents to house the homeless.
Two HH-43s from USAFE's TUSLOG Det 84 assisted Turkish forces rescuing flood victims near Tarsus.
27 Apr 69
USAFE's 7310th Tactical Airlift Wing provided relief supplies to Moroccans injured and left homeless by a major fire in Rabat.
21 May 69
An HC-130H from Lajes AB in the Azores rescued a British sailor after his boat sank.
Two C-130s from USAFE's 7310th Tactical Airlift Wing delivered over 164 tons of food to assist Chad deal with a famine.
8-14 Oct 69
Three HH-53 helicopters from Wheelus AB, Libya, deployed to Tunisia to help flood victims. Flying 108 sorties, they saved 433 lives.
22 Oct - 3 Nov 69
Additional flood relief in Tunisia: 220 HH-53 sorties saved 2083 lives and delivered food and water, clothing, blankets, tents and medicine.
29 Mar - 6 Apr 70
- USAFE units responded to a severe earthquake at Gediz, Turkey. A medical team from Izmir and a convoy from Cigli AB with medical supplies, cots, blankets, tents, and water, rushed to the scene.
6 Sep 70
- Palestinian terrorists hijacked three airliners over Europe and flew them to the Middle East. The terrorists blew up one plane in Cairo after allowing the passengers and crews to disembark. The other two planes landed at a remote airfield in Jordan, and a third hijacked plane arrived 9 September. On the tenth the JCS ordered six TAC rotational C-130s under USAFE's operational control to deploy to Incirlik and stand by for a possible rescue and evacuation of the hostages. Twenty-five F-4s and four more C-130s deployed from bases in Europe to Incirlik on 11 September. The terrorists blew up the three airliners the following day. After fighting broke out between government forces and Palestinian guerrillas, the terrorists released all the hostages by 29 September. US military preparations were nicknamed Flat Pass.
28 Sep 70
- In Operation Fig Hill, USAFE airlifted two US military hospitals and medical technicians to Amman, Jordan, to treat victims of the Jordanian civil war. Air Force and Army medical teams performed 1,240 surgical procedures before returning to Europe 31 October.
- A C-130 flew relief supplies to Italy following a flash flood.
25 May 71
- A USAFE C-130 lifted 8,775 pounds of medical supplies, tents, and blankets from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to the Turkish Red Crescent Agency in Ankara for shipment to earthquake victims near Bingol, Turkey.
- USAFE extended humanitarian aid to refugees of the East Pakistani civil war. In a 30-day airlift, the US delivered 2,167 tons of food and medical supplies and evacuated 23,000 refugees.
- USAFE C-130s airlifted cholera relief supplies from RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, to Chad.
12 May 72
- A USAFE C-130 flew 5,000 pounds of civilian-donated medical equipment from Stuttgart, Germany, to a new hospital at Sile, Turkey.
- Operation Authentic Assistance: A C-130 flew nine missions to Mali, Chad, and Mauritania, delivering 9,250 tons of food, livestock, and vehicles to help combat drought.
24 Oct 73
- After the Yom Kippur War ended, USAFE provided some of the airlift support for the United Nations peacekeeping force to Egypt as part of Operation Night Reach. American humanitarian projects also included providing blankets to Israel and medicine to Jordan.
15 Jul 74
- A Greek-led coup overthrew President Makarios of Cyprus. Five days later, Turkey invaded the island. After two days of fierce fighting, the United Nations arranged a cease-fire. From 25 July to 6 August, USAFE flew 10 C-130s into Akrotiri, Cyprus, with 10,000 blankets, 7,500 cots, 600 tents, and two water trailers to be used in assisting refugees.
- Nineteen C-130s flying 541 missions flew 9,424 tons of grain to famine-plagued areas of Chad, Mali, and Mauritania in Operation King Grain.
6 May - 5 Jun 76
- An earthquake struck the Furili region of northeastern Italy, killing 965 people and leveling entire villages. USAFE personnel at Aviano Air Base provided medical assistance, together with working parties to clear rubble and pitch tents for the homeless. In addition, tents were delivered by air and convoy to the stricken area.
20 Jun 76
- Supported by five OV-10s from USAFE's 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, Sembach Air Base, Germany, and aircraft of the Air Rescue and Recovery Service, US naval forces evacuated US citizens from strife-torn Beirut, Lebanon, on 20 June. Three USAFE HH-53s and four HC-130s also deployed to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, on standby to support the operation. On 27 July another evacuation took place, the naval force supported this time by a USAFE C-130 Joint Airborne Communications Center/Command Post.
24 Nov - 15 Dec 76
- More than 3,600 people died in an earthquake near Caldiran in eastern Turkey. Fourteen MAC C-141s and a C-5 delivered 519 tons of relief supplies (mainly tents and heaters) to Incirlik. From Incirlik, 15 C-130s flew 40 missions to move supplies to Van Airport, often in bad weather. USAFE people at Incirlik also traveled to the stricken area and helped pitch tents. Eight C-130s delivered an additional 119 tons of supplies to Van in January 1977.
18 May 78
- With USAFE support, the Military Airlift Command conducted an airlift of French, Belgian, and West African troops into Zaire's Shaba province to combat an invasion from Angola. During the operation, which lasted until 15 June, C-5s, C-141s, and C-130s flew more than 200 missions.
8 Dec 78 - 17 Feb 79
- Because of a revolution in Iran that overthrew the Shah on 16 January 1979, Military Airlift Command evacuated over 4,400 Americans from Iran to Hellenikon Air Base, Greece, where USAFE's 7206th Air Base Group operated a safe haven. USAFE deployed a rescue force of six HH-53s and five MC-130s to Turkey to support further evacuations from Iran and operated other safe havens at Rome and Rhein-Main.
26 May 79
- A C-9 from MAC's 2d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flew 23 Italians from Larissa, Greece, home to Aviano, Italy. The Italians, members of a folk-dancing troupe, had been injured in a bus accident two days earlier.
12 Jul 79
- Europe's worst hotel fire in a decade engulfed the Hotel Corona de Aragon in Zaragoza, Spain. Of an estimated 420 occupants, 80 died and 100 more were injured. Members of the 406th Tactical Fighter Training Wing and Detachment 9 of the 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Zaragoza Air Base helped recover victims and bring the fire under control.
7 Oct 79
- Members of the fire department at Hellenikon AB, Greece, responded with Athens airport firemen when a Swissair DC-8 skidded off the airport runway and caught fire.
4 Nov 79
- Militant students seized the American Embassy in Teheran, Iran, and took 65 Americans hostage. The militants released 13 of the hostages 19 November, and two C-9s flew them to the USAFE hospital at Wiesbaden, Germany.
23 Nov 80
- A major earthquake struck southern Italy destroying numerous villages and trapping thousands of victims in the rubble. USAFE provided blankets, C-rations, and personnel to assist recovery efforts. Closer to the scene, the 2181st Communications Squadron at Monte Vergine aided local communities. The Military Airlift Command flew numerous relief missions to Italy, delivering half a millon tons of aid, while US Navy units in the Naples area performed the bulk of US on-scene assistance.
20 Jan 81
- The Iranians released the remaining 52 US hostages they held. The hostages flew to Algiers, where they were met by two MAC C-9s. After four days of medical checks and debriefings at the USAFE hospital at Wiesbaden, they reached the US on 25 January.
28 Feb - 6 Mar 81
- A series of earthquakes shook central Greece from 17 February to 5 March, causing extensive damage near Athens, Corinth, Thebes, and outlying communities. The 7206th Air Base Group at Hellenikon Air Base provided emergency supplies and equipment to the devastated areas. A MAC C-130 flew 225 tents from Italy.
20 Dec 82
- After two ferries collided in the English Channel, an HC-130 and two HH-53 helicopters from the 67th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron joined the search for survivors. British and American crews pulled 64 people from the water.
- A MAC C-9 airlifted Americans wounded in a bomb attack on the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, to Rhein-Main AB, Germany, for treatment at the USAFE hospital at Wiesbaden.
23 Oct 83
- A lone terrorist crashed a truck laden with explosives into the compound housing the US Marine contingent of the multinational force at Beirut International Airport. The bomb killed 239 Marines and wounded more than 100 others. Thirty-six of the wounded were transferred to Germany for treatment at US military hospitals. Those killed were transported to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, where USAFE set up a mortuary center to identify and prepare the remains for return to the United States.
1 Jul 85
- The USAFE hospital at Wiesbaden treated 39 passengers of TWA flight 847, hijacked by terrorists on 14 June.
27 Jul 86
- After holding him for 19 months, Muslim extremists in Lebanon released Father Lawrence Jenco. An Air Force C-9 flew him from Damascus, Syria, to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, for two days of medical checks at the USAFE Medical Center at Wiesbaden.
5 Sep 86
- Dressed as security personnel, four hijackers boarded a Pan American flight at Karachi Airport, Pakistan, the morning of 5 September and demanded to be flown to Larnaca, Cyprus. Before their demand could be met, the flight crew escaped. Several hours later, when the plane's interior lights went out and the hijackers began firing at the passengers, Pakistani commandos stormed the plane. Sixteen people died, including two of the hijackers. A MAC C-141 with medical support personnel flew to Karachi to aid the victims. Fourteen injured Americans flew to Frankfurt, West Germany, and received medical treatment at US military hospitals.
17 May 87
- USAFE assisted in evacuating those killed and wounded in the Iraqi attack on the USS Stark in the Persian Gulf. Twenty-five members of the Wiesbaden hospital staff flew to Bahrain to help in the evacuation.
7 Dec 88
- A powerful earthquake, measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale, heavily damaged key residential areas in Soviet Armenia, killing 40,000 people and leaving up to 400,000 homeless. USAFE joined the international relief effort by coordinating medical and transportation assistance with US European Command.
6 Apr 91
- Joint Task Force Provide Comfort formed and deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to conduct humanitarian operations in northern Iraq. A Kurdish revolt against the Iraqi government failed, and about 1.5 million refugees fled to the mountains along the border with Turkey and Iran. Maj Gen James L. Jamerson, the USAFE deputy chief of staff for operations, commanded the effort. After British and French cargo aircraft arrived the next day, he redesignated the organization as a Combined Task Force. The task force dropped its first supplies to Kurdish refugees on 7 April. By the end of the operation, 24 July, the task force had delivered over 17,000 tons of supplies (6,000 tons air-dropped, 6,500 tons by helicopter, the rest by surface transport). Provide Comfort II, a show of force to deter new Iraqi attacks on the Kurds, began 24 July 1991 and had only limited humanitarian aspects to its mission. It ended 31 December 1996.
1 Aug 91
- One of six American hostages still held in Lebanon, Edmund Tracy, was released. The last hostage, Terry Anderson, was freed on 5 December. USAFE provided airlift and medical support for the former hostages.
24 Sep - 7 Oct 91
- Quick Lift: a USEUCOM joint task force deployed French and Belgian troops to Zaire and evacuated 716 people following a mutiny by army troops there.
2-9 Feb 92
- Operation Snow Eagle: elements of Combined Task Force Provide Comfort delivered over 100 tons of blankets, medical supplies, and food to 110 villages in the area around Gormec, Turkey, after avalanches there. Medical teams treated the injured and evacuated some to hospitals.
10-26 Feb 92
- Sixty-five C-5 and C-141 missions flew 2,363 tons of food and medical supplies to 24 locations in the Commonwealth of Independent States during Operation Provide Hope I. USAFE established three project teams (Rhein-Main AB, Germany, and Ankara and Incirlik ABs, Turkey) to support the operation.
14-20 Mar 92
- Operation Deprem: Provide Comfort units responded to an earthquake near Erzincan, Turkey. The quake (6.8 on the Richter scale) killed nearly 500 people, injured over 7,000, and left 19,000 homeless. The Provide Comfort task force delivered 95,000 pounds of food, water, clothing, tents, and medical equipment; helped search for survivors; provided medical care; and built a hospital annex.
15 Apr - 29 Jul 92
- Operation Provide Hope II, a long-term effort to aid cities in the former Soviet Union, began. Sea and land transport were the primary means of shipping excess food stocks from Luxembourg and Pisa, Italy, and excess medical stocks from Pirmasens, Germany. Airlift missions began on 24 April to deliver relief supplies where surface transportation was impractical (Minsk, for example). By the end of the operation, US European Command transferred a total of 25,000 short tons of food and medicine from European stockpiles to 33 cities in the former Soviet Union, most of it by commercial freight.
- A 79-member medical team deployed to Freetown, Sierra Leone, for MEDFLAG 92-2. Because of a coup there, the team was evacuated early in Operation Silver Anvil (next entry).
2-5 May 92
- Following a coup that overthrew the president of Sierra Leone, a US European Command Joint Special Operations Task Force evacuated 438 people (including 42 third-country nationals). Under USAFE's opera-tional control, two AMC C-141s flew 136 people from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to Rhein-Main, Germany; nine C-130 sorties carried another 302 to Dakar, Senegal. USEUCOM called the operation Silver Anvil.
3 Jul 92 - 9 Jan 96
- USAFE conducted Operation Provide Promise, flying humanitarian relief missions to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The violent disintegration of Yugoslavia had prompted the United Nations (UN) to deploy peacekeeping forces and begin humanitarian relief operations. USAFE's 435th Airlift Wing flew as many as six C-130 sorties per day from Rhein-Main to Sarajevo. Cease-fire violations, including firing at relief aircraft approaching Sarajevo, frequently forced UN officials to suspend operations at the airport. Participating crews reported 279 incidents, but the only deaths occurred when an Italian G-222 was shot down in September 1992, killing the four crewmen. Three C-130s from the 435th conducted the first night airdrops over Bosnia, releasing 16 tons of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs) on 28 Feb 93. French participation in the air drops began 27 March 93, and the Germans flew their first air-drop mission a day later. The last air drop occurred 19 Aug 94. By the end of the operation, aircraft from 21 countries had flown 12,886 sorties into Sarajevo, delivering 159,622 tons of food, medicine, and supplies and evacuating over 1,300 wounded people. The US flew 3,951 C-130, 236 C-141, and 10 C-17 airland sorties (delivering 62,801.5 tons), as well as 2,222 C-130 air-drop sorties (28,748 Container Delivery System bundles and 1185 tri-wall aerial delivery system [TRIADS] bundles).
12 Aug - 9 Oct 92
- A 78-person contingent (76 from USAFE and two from Air Mobility Command) and three 435th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules deployed from Rhein-Main to Luanda, Angola. The aircraft relocated government and rebel soldiers during Operation Provide Transition, a multinational United Nations effort to support democratic elections following 16 years of civil war in Angola. The Hercules flew 326 sorties, carrying 8,805 passengers and 265 tons of cargo during the operation.
14 Aug - 7 Dec 92
- The White House announced US military transports would support the multinational United Nations relief effort in Somalia. Ten C-130s and 400 people deployed to Mombasa, Kenya, during Operation Provide Relief, airlifting aid to remote areas in Somalia to reduce reliance on truck convoys. One member of the 86th Supply Squadron deployed with the ground support contingent, USAFE's only contribution to the operation.
22-25 Oct 92
- Two Air Mobility Command C-130s (under USAFE operational control) evacuated 96 people from Monrovia, Liberia.
8 Dec 92 - 4 May 94
- Clan violence in Somalia interfered with relief efforts. President Bush sent American troops to protect relief workers in a new operation called Restore Hope. Although Somalia was a US Central Command respon-sibility, USAFE provided air refueling support at Moron Air Base, Spain, and sent contingents of security police, communicators, and postal specialists to Somalia and Kenya.
2 Feb 93
- The first eight patients arrived at Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center, near Ramstein AB, Germany, as part of a state department program to evacuate selected victims of the Bosnian war to the US for surgery. USAFE C-9s flew the patients from Zagreb to Ramstein on the first leg of their trip.
9 -20 May 93
- A 90-person team deployed to Niamey, Niger, for MEDFLAG 93-1, on a 37th Airlift Squadron C-130. Most of the team came from USAFE's 36th Medical Group, Bitburg AB, Germany. US Army Europe, US Navy Europe, and the German Bundeswehr were also represented. The team treated 2,225 patients, provided 3,838 immunizations, trained 256 Nigeriens in emergency medical procedures, and donated 32 463L pallets of medical supplies.
- Members of the 36th Security Police and 36th Civil Engineer Squadrons, Bitburg AB, and the 606th Air Control Squadron, Spangdahlem AB, provided short-notice disaster assistance to local German communities following widespread flooding due to heavy rain.
10 Jan - 30 Apr 94
- USAFE shipped and helped install hospital equipment at Minsk, Belarus, under Operation Provide Hope IV. Medical technicians from the 608th Contingency Hospital, RAF Upwood, UK, conducted a site survey and technical assessment in January; inventoried, packed, and shipped the materiel to Minsk in February; and installed the equipment and provided technical training and assistance during July and August.
5 Feb 94
- A mortar attack on Sarajevo's central market killed 68 and wounded 200. USAFE sent medics and medical supplies to Sarajevo. Four USAFE C-130s and an IL-76 leased by the International Red Cross evacuated 68 wounded Bosnians and 110 of their family members to Ramstein, for treatment at the Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center nearby.
- USEUCOM directed USAFE to ship excess medical supplies and equipment from Spangdahlem AB, Germany, and RAF Lakenheath, UK, to several nations (Estonia, Latvia, Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe) under USEUCOM's Humanitarian Assistance Program.
9-10 Apr 94
- Operation Distant Runner: USAFE supported Air Mobility Command (AMC) and US Marines evacuating 148 Americans and 82 others from Rwanda after fierce fighting broke out between Hutus and Tutsis.
17-28 Apr 94
- A joint medical task force composed of Army, Navy, and Air Force medics, augmented by two NATO medical officers, conducted a medical training and humanitarian relief mission (MEDFLAG 94-1) to Accra, Ghana. The task force treated 5,000 patients and donated a half million dollars of medical supplies to Ghanaian military and civilian hospitals.
1 Jul - 31 Aug 94
- Supporting Provide Hope IV, 41 US Army, Air Force, and Navy medical technicians delivered and installed medical equipment and supplies at two cities in Moldova. The team installed materiel worth $10 million*enough to support a 602-bed hospital*at 10 facilities in Chisinau and two in Beltsi, then trained Moldovan medical personnel to use and maintain the equipment. The 86th Medical Group, Ramstein AB, Germany, provided the Air Force contingent.
22 Jul - 30 Sep 94
- After Tutsi insurgents defeated the Rwandan army hundreds of thousands of Hutus began fleeing to Zaire, Uganda, Burundi, and Tanzania. President Clinton announced on 22 July the US would aid the Rwandan refugees, dubbing the operation Support Hope. A joint task force deployed to the region, its peak strength 2,592 (USAFE peak deployed strength, at locations in Africa and Europe: 325). C-5s and C-141s flew 381 sorties during the operation, supported by USAFE-controlled aerial tankers, C-130s flew 996 sorties. Two USAFE C-130s deployed and flew their last mission in central Africa on 27 September.
18-30 Aug 94
- USAFE medics participated in MEDFLAG 94-3 in Nigeria.
15 Oct-19 Dec 94
- Forty-three US Army, Air Force, and Navy technicians installed $12.5 million of supplies and equipment (equivalent to an 800-bed field hospital) in six medical facilities at Almaty, Kazakhstan, under Operation Provide Hope IV.
10-25 Mar 95
- A 61-person team deployed to Rinas AB, Tirana, Albania, for Medical Exercise Central/Eastern Europe (MEDCEUR) 95-1 on three C-130s and four UH-60s. Most of the team came from USAFE's 52d Medical Group, Spangdahlem AB, Germany. US Army Europe, US Navy Europe, and the New Jersey Air National Guard were also represented. The team treated 1,001 patients and trained 220 Albanians in emergency medical procedures.
19 Jul 95
- Extensive flooding severely damaged the water treatment facility in Kharkov, Ukraine, prompting Secretary of Defense William J. Perry to establish a humanitarian airlift mission to aid the 1.5 million residents. Three C-130s from Ramstein's 37th Airlift Squadron carried 27 squadron members and a Tanker Airlift Control Element to Kiev, which served as a prepositioning location for pumps, pipes, and hoses brought from Rotterdam, Netherlands, by USAF C-141s. The 37th then transported the supplies to Kharkov.
27 Jul - 18 Aug 95
- A 66-person team deployed to Harare, Zimbabwe, for MEDFLAG 95-3. Most of the team came from USAFE's 39th Medical Group, Incirlik AB, Turkey. US Army Europe and US Navy Europe were also represented. The team treated 2,006 patients in five medical civic action program (MEDCAP) visits.
27 Jul - 18 Aug 95
- A 66-person team deployed to Harare, Zimbabwe, for MEDFLAG 95-3. Most of the team came from USAFE's 39th Medical Group, Incirlik AB, Turkey. US Army Europe and US Navy Europe were also represented. The team treated 2,006 patients in five medical civic action program (MEDCAP) visits.
23-30 Mar 96
- A 28-person team deployed to Hissar, Bulgaria, for MEDCEUR 96-1, on a C-130. Most of the team came from USAFE's 48th Medical Group, RAF Lakenheath, UK. US Navy Europe sent three people. The team treated 10 patients and conducted mass casualty training withthe Bulgarians.
8 Apr 96 - 3 Aug 96
- Non-combatant emergency evacuation from Liberia (Assured Response).
20 May - 22 Jun 96
- NEO, Central Africa Republic (Quick Response)
7-17 Sep 96
- A 57-member medical team deployed to Kati, Mali, for MEDFLAG 96-3. Most of the team came from USAFE's 86th Medical Group, Ramstein AB, Germany. US Army Europe, US Navy Europe, and the German Bundeswehr were also represented. The team treated 2,338 patients, provided 11,477 immunizations, and trained 139 Malians in emergency medical procedures.
15-18 Sep 96
- Evacuation of approximately 2,200 pro-US Kurds from northern Iraq to Guam (nicknamed Pacific Haven, also called Quick Transit I)
21-22 Oct 96
- Quick Transit II: Evacuation of 601 additional pro-US Kurds from northern Iraq
Nov - Dec 96
- Guardian Assistance: US logistics support to multinational force in Rwanda/Zaire
4-16 Dec 96
- Quick Transit III: Evacuation of 3,783 additional pro-US Kurds from northern Iraq.
14-26 Mar 97
- Silver Wake: NEO in Albania following armed rebellion. 808 people (390 US, 418 other nationals) evacuated by US Marines; 20 USAF people in JTF.
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