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USAREUR's relief headed toward Pakistan

By Arthur McQueen

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (Army News Service, Oct. 18, 2005)– The spearhead element of Task Force 212, U. S. Army Europe’s medical response to the Oct. 8 earthquake in Pakistan, left Germany Oct. 17 aboard a Russian cargo plane.

The sunset takeoff of the Antonov AN-124 Condor was the beginning of an expected mission for 12 of an expected 200 USAREUR Soldiers and 34,000 pounds of equipment heading to Pakistan to assist allies with needed medical care.

The first wave of assistance – drivers, nurses and support personnel; supply containers, three 5-ton cargo trucks towing generators and operating-room containers on trailers – will deploy to Muzafarrabad, Pakistan, where task force members will begin setting up an 84-bed care facility.

Task Force 212 includes elements of the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, based in Miesau; the 160th Forward Surgical Team, based in Landstuhl; and the 123rd Main Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division, based in Dexheim.

“We are part of a larger operation,” said the commander of the 212th MASH, Col. Angel Lugo, who also commands the task force. “The 212th remains at a high state of readiness. We are ready to provide the type of support needed. The 123rd will provide a water purification detachment, which can take water from almost any source and make it potable using the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit.”

Several translators from Army units stationed in Europe will also support the relief effort.

Brig. Gen. Carla Hawley-Bowland, commander of Europe Regional Medical Command, visited Lugo and his Soldiers at the staging area here.

“We are proud of you and your efforts,” said Hawley-Bowland. “Keep your eyes and ears open. We are ready to adapt to whatever assistance is needed by the Pakistanis.”

(Arthur McQueen writes for USAREUR Public Affairs.)

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