Pakistan Relief Focus Shifts From Air to Ground

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.

A C-130 Hercules from the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
A C‑130 Her­cules from the 302nd Air­lift Wing, Peter­son Air Force Base, Colo., pre­pares for take­off at the Skar­du Air­port in Pak­istan Oct. 3, 2010, after offload­ing four pal­lets of flood relief sup­plies. The mis­sion was one of the last fixed-wing oper­a­tions sup­port­ing flood relief oper­a­tions.
U.S. Air Force pho­to by Staff Sgt. Andy Kin
Click to enlarge

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.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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