Mobility aircraft, personnel poised to support Haiti relief operations
1/13/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Air Mobility Command forces are actively working to support relief operations in Haiti after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation Jan. 12, AMC officials said here Jan. 13.
President Barack Obama directed a swift, coordinated effort from the U.S., saying "the people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble and to deliver the humanitarian relief of food water and medicine that Haitians will need in the coming days."
AMC identified several of its C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft for the relief operations according to officials, posturing them for immediate support. Additional aircraft will be made available as relief requirements become better known.
Brig. Gen. Robert K. Millmann Jr., who led Air Force mobility operations during relief efforts following hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike, has been selected to direct air mobility relief in Haiti.
Mission planning and command-and-control for the AMC portion of the humanitarian effort will be led by the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott AFB. As AMC's hub for global operations, the 618th TACC plans, schedules and directs a fleet of nearly 1,300 mobility aircraft in support of strategic airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations around the world.
In addition to supporting U.S. warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 618th TACC can transition at a moment's notice to support emerging global situations, including humanitarian airlift and aeromedical evacuation.
"Our role at the 618th TACC is to posture air mobility forces to be ready to respond quickly and effectively, and then plan and manage the missions as a coordinated effort," said Maj. Gen. Mark S. Solo, the 618th TACC commander. "We're currently assessing the state of the runway in Port-au-Prince and will plan our humanitarian air operations based on the number of aircraft we can safely operate into the airport at one time."
AMC officials already answered the call for several humanitarian operations in the past year, including in May 2009 when AMC officials delivered 30,000 H1N1 influenza prevention kits to the governments of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua to prevent the spread of the virus.
A major part of the humanitarian effort includes providing medical personnel, equipment and supplies needed to respond to the disaster, something the 618th TACC has already started coordinating. Current plans call for establishing a mobile aeromedical evacuation staging facility at a yet-to-be-determined location with multiple aeromedical crews standing by to administer emergency medical care and fly patients to more robust care, if required.
Another key player in AMC's support to Haitian relief operations will be the 621st Contingency Response Wing, based out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The 621st CRW staff maintains a ready corps of light, lean and agile mobility support forces who are prepared to rapidly deploy anywhere in the world to open airfields and establish, expand, sustain and coordinate air mobility operations.
"Air Mobility Command has the unique ability to respond within hours anywhere in the world," General Solo said. "It's an extremely fulfilling part of the mission, and we're going to be working around the clock on our 24-7 operations floor to provide the maximum amount of support possible for relief efforts."
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