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Mobility Airmen support Pakistan flood relief

by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

9/8/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Mobility Airmen have been involved in the Pakistan flood relief effort since floods began affecting the country in late July.

Among the Airmen deployed to Pakistan are about 30 members from Air Mobility Command's 818th Contingency Response Group, 621st Contingency Response Wing, from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., who deployed to the region as a contingency response element Aug. 28, and have been continuously supporting the flow of aid.

"Anytime that the people of the United States see other citizens of the world in dire need, we have historically always felt the need to assist," said Lt. Col. Shawn Underwood, the CRE commander. "Coming here is doing the work of the American people, and it's fulfilling a promise that we've made to ourselves to be good citizens of the world. And to me, being personally involved is a very humbling experience."

Daily, C-130 Hercules aircraft and the aircrews flying them are moving aid into the country. Airmen flying the C-130 missions are part of a total force team to include active-duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Airmen.

"These floods are the worst to hit Pakistan in more than 80 years, and the Pakistanis desperately need our help," said Lt. Col. Robert McCrady, the deputy commander of the 386th Expeditionary Operations Group. "We'll be working with other units to provide that assistance wherever it's needed. The C-130 is an outstanding aircraft for this sort of mission because it can carry everything from food and water to rolling stock and portable clinics. It also has the capability to land on dirt strips in austere environments, should the need arise."

Other mobility Airmen supporting the effort include Airmen flying C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. On Sept. 1, two C-17s from the 517th Airlift Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, arrived in Pakistan with members from the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The planes carried two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters along with people who are assisting with relief efforts.

Above all, the support for Pakistan by mobility Airmen is part of a larger, overall international effort. Besides the Air Force participation, servicemembers and other support personnel from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps are all part of the effort.

(Army Master Sgt. Mark Swart, Joint Public Affairs Support Element; Mr. John D. Banusiewicz, American Forces Press Service; Maj. Dale Greer, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs; Capt. Justin Brockhoff, 618th AOC (TACC) Public Affairs; and Staff Sgt. Kali Gradishar, Air Forces Central Public Affairs, contributed to this story.)

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