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Air Force continues Pakistan aid

10/17/2005 - SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- The Air Force continues to provide humanitarian aid to Pakistan after it suffered a 7.6 magnitude earthquake Oct. 8.

Air Force C-17 Globemaster IIIs, KC-10 Extenders and C-130 Hercules aircraft have transported more than 630,000 pounds of humanitarian relief, including food, tents, cots, medical supplies, water and meals-ready-to-eat. Airmen also palletized and shipped medical supplies, plywood, and paper products.

Additional cargo included vehicles and cargo loading equipment to facilitate rapid offload of supplies -- even helicopters.

A Dover Air Force Base, Del., C-5 aircrew picked up two CH-47 Chinooks from Robert Gray Army Air Field, Texas, to deliver to the devastated region.

“Being a reservist, we’re always ready to answer the call,” said Capt. Christian Fiore, a 326th Airlift Squadron pilot and one of five Reservists on the mixed crew. “It’s a real privilege to be part of something bigger.”

The CH-47 transports ground forces, supplies, ammunition and other battle-critical cargo in support of worldwide combat and contingency operations. The main cabin can hold up to 33 troops. For medical evacuation, the cabin can accommodate 24 stretchers.

The 818th Contingency Response Group-Element from McGuire AFB, N.J., set up an around-the-clock operations center in Islamabad to unload supplies as they arrive. Supplies are transported approximately 70 miles north from Islamabad by helicopter to the hardest hit areas.

The 46-member team deployed from McGuire as part of the U.S. effort to provide support based on requests from the Pakistani government, said Col. Richard Walberg, 818th CRG-E commander.

"The United States is providing airlift assets to meet the Pakistani's most urgent needs," Colonel Walberg said. "We are working to establish an air bridge into Pakistan by providing the ground support necessary to facilitate the flow of humanitarian airlift operations."

The recent history of the unit includes relief operations following the tsunami in Asia and hurricane Katrina and Rita in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

"We are ideally equipped and trained for this type of mission," said Colonel Walberg, who returned from Hurricane Katrina relief operations just days prior to his deployment to Pakistan. "This team is made up of professional, well-trained Airmen, and I am confident they are ready for the task at hand."

To help establish communications with the United States and in-country for relief workers, five members of the 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron deployed to Pakistan.

“You’d want them to be able to help you [if the shoe were on the other foot],” said Tech. Sgt. Miller, a cable antenna maintenance specialist.

(Compiled from U.S. Central Command and Air Mobility Command) 



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