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American Forces Press Service

First U.S. Earthquake Relief Supplies Arrive in Pakistan

By Capt. James H. Cunningham, USAF
American Forces Press Service

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 10, 2005 The first relief supplies from the United States arrived here on a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport jet less that 48 hours after the devastating earthquake that left thousands dead and thousands more injured.

The C-17 and its crew from the 7th Airlift Squadron, McChord Air Force Base, Wash., delivered 12 pallets -- weighing almost 90,000 pounds -- of food, water, medicine and blankets from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Two aerial port specialists from Bagram's 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron also were on the flight to coordinate and manage cargo at Islamabad.

Airmen and soldiers at Bagram, with only a few hours' notice, worked feverishly to palletize the supplies and prepare them for the flight.

"This was a total team effort from everyone here at Bagram," said Col. Mike Isherwood, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander. "Our hearts go out to all those affected by the earthquake, and we are thankful we were able to help out."

Master Sgt. John Keel and Staff Sgt. Larry Mansell, both Air National Guard members from the 137th Aerial Port Squadron from Oklahoma City, Okla., charged with ensuring the cargo is properly managed on the ramp at the Islamabad airport, will temporarily stay at Islamabad to facilitate future cargo movements.

"The troops can handle it here at Bagram while we go help the people in Pakistan," said Keel. "What better way is there to spend your time?"

First Lt. Josh Ehmen, a C-17 pilot on the mission, has seen this kind of effort before. "It's awesome to be able to help out," he said. "After the tsunami last year, we've shown we can do anything, any time."

Pakistan Army Brig. Gen. Imtiaz Sherazi, director of logistics, is coordinating the relief supplies as they arrive and making sure they get to the areas that need them.

"I would like to thank the Air Force," he said. "These items are very valuable to us because there are lots of people in great distress."

(Air Force Capt. James H. Cunningham is assigned to 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.)

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