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Globemasters deliver more relief aid

by Master Sgt. Peter Borys
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

10/12/2005 - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AFPN) -- A huge C-17 Globemaster III delivered more relief supplies here Oct. 11 for areas most hard hit by the earthquake.

The C-17 and its crew of five, from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia, flew in approximately 50 tons of food and shelter equipment.

Islamabad is the operations hub for relief efforts in the region. Helicopters pick up supplies and transport them approximately 70 miles north to the hardest hit areas.

Despite its heavy Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom workload, the C-17 crew was honored to fly the mission.

“It feels pretty gratifying,” said Capt. Andy Schwaderer, the aircraft commander. “We know that what we’re doing here today is really going to benefit those in need.”

For the past two and a half years the captain has been flying mostly to Iraq and Afghanistan. But the relief mission was different, and he expects to fly “another two or three missions here before we’re done.”

Some crew members, like pilot 1st Lt. Dan Appel were just in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

“No matter how often you see this kind of devastation, whether it is at home or abroad, you never get used to it,” the lieutenant said. “Our hearts go out to all of the victims of this disaster. We’re dedicated to the mission and stand ready to support as needed.”

Col. Richard Walberg, the 818th Contingency Response Group commander from McGuire AFB, N.J., arrived in Islamabad two hours before the C-17, and got his team ready to handle airlift operations.

“Our guys are setting up a tent city and our operations center, while at the same time we are unloading this first C-17 full of relief supplies,” the colonel said.

The McGuire team has 45 people on the ground that “will give us the ability to run things 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “Even though we’re getting good things done, we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Air Mobility Command response groups are the Air Force’s global reach crisis response force. They deploy with trained and equipped Airmen provide command and control and initial airfield operations and operating support.

Maj. James Jamir, a Reserve instructor pilot with the wing, the support the people of Pakistan are receiving will have positive, long-lasting effects.

“What we’re doing here in Pakistan is just another example of how great the United States is,” he said. “We’re building strong relationships and making history. But most importantly, we’re saving lives.”

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