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Pacific Command joins Pakistan earthquake relief effort

by Tech. Sgt. Rusty Barfield
Air Force Print News

10/18/2005 - HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN) -- U.S. Pacific Command Airmen loaded three C-5 Galaxies with helicopters, support equipment and Soldiers bound to help earthquake victims in Pakistan Oct. 16.

The Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters are the first command assets to deploy to earthquake-shattered Pakistan. A C-5 can carry two CH-47 helicopters.

Deploying were 60 soldiers and their helicopters from Company B, 214th Aviation Regiment of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.

“I’m glad to be here making, and being a part of, history -- especially at this time when we have all these disasters,” said Chief Warrant Officer Edgar Palafox, the battalion movement officer. “I’m glad we can actually help some people in a short period of time.”

After a short flight here from Wheeler, Army maintainers prepared the helicopters for transport. It took about six hours to prepare a Chinook for loading onto the C-5. The Soldiers had to remove the front and rear rotors, as well as the entire top sections, before two helicopters will fit inside the transport.

“It takes a lot of work (to break the helicopters down),” said Army Staff Sgt. Michael Owens, CH-47 technical inspector.

The C-5 crewmembers said the mission was on a fast track.

“Rush. It’s a high priority mission,” said Senior Airman Mike Kaminski, the C-5’s crew chief. “We don’t want to delay. We want to get out of here on time -- get in here, get our stuff loaded and get out as soon as possible so we can help out the people in need.”

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