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American Forces Press Service

Pakistan Relief Focus Shifts From Air to Ground

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Kali Gradishar
U.S. Air Forces Central

PAKISTAN AIR FORCE BASE CHAKLALA, Pakistan, Oct. 7, 2010 – The Pakistani government has informed the United States that as flood relief operations shift from air to ground transportation, they no longer require U.S. military C-17 Globemaster III or C-130 Hercules aircraft support for delivery of relief supplies.

Two Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft conducted the last fixed-wing missions to deliver flood relief supplies in Pakistan on Oct. 3, flying humanitarian supplies from Phere to the Skardu Airport in northern Pakistan.

“The mission was our last flight into some of the forward operating bases in support of humanitarian operations -- the end of the fixed-wing operations,” said Maj. Kevin Baylis, an Air Force Reserve C-130 Hercules pilot from the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. “We flew into Skardu, which is up toward the Pakistani border up in the mountains.

“Hopefully, we [delivered] the supplies the folks need to make it through the winter,” added the major, who is on his first humanitarian deployment. “When you look at the numbers of folks who have been displaced by the flood, it’s good to be able to help out with that.”

Between Aug. 16 and Oct. 3, C-130 and C-17 crews transported nearly 6 million pounds of much-needed relief supplies to Pakistan aid distribution centers throughout the country.

In addition to flying relief supplies to the north, Baylis said, U.S. fixed-wing aircrews also have flown “a fair number of missions into the southern part of Pakistan since there were a lot of flood victims there, as well as … several missions down south bringing in [supplies and parts] for the Army and Marines.”

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Beresky, an Air Force Reserve C-130 Hercules loadmaster, also took part in the effort. “We’ve been flying into Skardu, Ghazi and around Pakistan delivering humanitarian relief supplies,” he said. “Normally, there are about four pallets, each weighing about 7,000 pounds, of mainly wheat and water [or] any other supplies … that people need.

“We’ve been flying two missions with multiple legs every day,” Beresky continued. “We’ve airlifted probably between [75,000 and] 100,000 pounds a day -- roughly about 25,000 pounds per flight.”

To date, U.S. military fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, working in partnership with the Pakistani military, have delivered more than 14 million pounds of relief supplies and evacuated more than 21,000 people from flood-affected areas.

“I personally feel proud as a reservist, being one of the first to be staged here and one of the last ones out of here,” Beresky said. “This is what you train for -- going to a forward deployed location like this, flying the missions, getting things done as you need to, and delivering the supplies that need to be delivered.”

While the Pakistani government’s requests for U.S. fixed-wing relief flights have ended, the U.S. commitment to supporting Pakistan flood relief efforts continues. Military helicopters, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other U.S. civilian agencies continue to provide humanitarian and recovery assistance throughout Pakistan.

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