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Operation Assured Lift

ASSURED LIFT was a Joint Task Force (JTF) operation to provide airlift and other logistical support to West African states that deployed more than 600 troops to Liberia as part of the regions ongoing Economic Community Military Observation Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping mission.

In 1997 the Air Force provided support for the Economic Community of West African States Military Observer Group during Operation Assured Lift. Operation Assured Lift kicked off 18 February 1997 with the first airlift into Liberia of troops from the Economic Community of West African States Cease-Fire Monitoring Group, or ECOMOG. During the 17-day operation, airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, worked side-by-side with Army and Marine Special Forces troops from Special Operations Command Europe and Fort Bragg, N.C., to move West African peacekeeping forces into war-torn Liberia.

The Air Force sent a mission support team, combat controllers and fire protection specialists, while the Army and Marines supplied special operations troops. Air Force troops were responsible for processing the ECOMOG troops and palletizing their equipment. At the heart of the operation were five C-130s from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein, responsible for transporting the ECOMOG peacekeepers and equipment from Mali, Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire, into Liberia. Led by Maj. Gen. Tad J. Oelstrom, 3rd Air Force commander, members of the JTF moved 1,160 peacekeepers and 452 short tons of cargo to Liberia to join the 2,000 ECOMOG soldiers already there to provide law and order following the country's civil war. The last US aircraft left Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) 07 March 1997.

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