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Airmen continue to bring relief supplies to Georgia

by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Arredondo
437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

8/29/2008 - CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (AFPN) -- Airmen from bases throughout Air Mobility Command and the Air Force have been delivering needed supplies since Aug. 13 to individuals displaced by recent fighting in the Republic of Georgia.

Since the start of the Russia-Republic of Georgia conflict Aug. 8, Airmen have delivered more than 428 tons of needed supplies to people displaced by the fighting, with more than 350 tons of items palletized by members of the 437th Aerial Port Squadron and shipped from Charleston Air Force Base.

Many bases throughout AMC have participated in the humanitarian missions helping deliver cots, blankets, Meals Ready to Eat and medical supplies to help those in need.

To get the supplies to Germany, bases across the command load C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft as crews prepare for transatlantic flights. From Germany the items are prepared for loading onto C-130 Hercules aircraft and then flown to Georgia. Supplies are also shipped in from other areas in Europe to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to be flown to those in need.

"We do a lot of humanitarian relief missions, but this is definitely worthwhile what the C-5 is doing in delivering (these items)," said Maj. Changkun Moon, a 337th Airlift Squadron C-5 pilot from Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.

While the Air Force initially delivered most of the relief supplies, Airmen are currently working with Soldiers to prepare cargo for flights into Georgia. At Ramstein AB, cargo from all U.S. services is processed and prepared for shipment by both Air Force and Army members.

During a recent mission, a Soldier on the ramp saw the importance of sending blankets and food to help the Georgians stay as comfortable as possible.

"We are trying to help as many people as we can by giving them what they need," said Army Spc. Chris Cahoon a 39th Transportation Battalion transportation management coordinator at Ramstein AB.

Once items are ready for shipment, pallets are loaded on C-130s for their final destination in Georgia.

While at least two C-17s have transported supplies to Georgia's capital of Tbilisi, due to its short distance to Georgia, C-130s from Ramstein have delivered the majority of the items.

Capt. Kevin Graham, 37th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein AB C-130 pilot, who piloted the second C-130 flight to Georgia, saw how the "good of the Air Force capability is being used to help the people of Georgia."

"We are bringing the supplies they need to help survive and save lives over there," he said. "But I treat it as any normal mission."

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