USA — C-130s Deliver Firefighting Supplies to Russia

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Ger­many, Aug. 17, 2010 — Two C-130J Super Her­cules trans­port air­craft flew mis­sions from here into Rus­sia on Aug. 13, deliv­er­ing fire­fight­ing sup­plies promised by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma to aid in the bat­tle against ram­pant wild­fires.

C-130J Super Hercules
Mil­i­tary mem­bers load fire­fight­ing equip­ment and human­i­tar­i­an sup­plies on to a C-130J Super Her­cules at Trond­heim Air­port, Nor­way, Aug. 14, 2010, for deliv­ery to Moscow. After an offi­cial request from the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment and at the request of the State Depart­ment, Defense Depart­ment offi­cials direct­ed U.S. Euro­pean Com­mand to pro­vide fire­fight­ing equip­ment to help Rus­sia com­bat ongo­ing wild­fires.
U.S. Army pho­to by Staff Sgt. Lawree R. Wash­ing­ton Jr.
Click to enlarge

Mem­bers of the 37th Air­lift Squadron deliv­ered equip­ment from Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy units through­out U.S. Euro­pean Com­mand.

Eucom offi­cials began brain­storm­ing about a week before the oper­a­tion on how the com­mand could help after the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment for­ward­ed a list of equip­ment they need­ed to offi­cials at the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

“Our smart plan­ners worked with all of our com­po­nents in Europe to rapid­ly deter­mine what we could sup­ply,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Harold Moul­ton, Eucom’s oper­a­tions direc­tor. “We iden­ti­fied sup­plies like Pio­neer Equip­ment, large-diam­e­ter hoses, mobile pump­ing sta­tions, per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment and med­ical kits, and then pack­aged them for deliv­ery.

“We reached out to our bases as far west as Rota, Spain, and as far south as Sigonel­la, Italy,” he con­tin­ued. “Addi­tion­al mate­ri­als were iden­ti­fied from our stocks in Nor­way and at our air base at Ram­stein. We asked our air com­po­nent, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, to lead, and they did a great job. Our C-130 air­crews demon­strat­ed their flex­i­bil­i­ty and ‘get it done’ atti­tude.”

The U.S. response to the Russ­ian wild­fires was a quick­ly pushed mis­sion, and crews were ready to spring into action, said Air Force Lt. Col. Tobias Ser­nel, 37th Air­lift Squadron and mis­sion com­man­der.

“Sup­port from the embassy in Moscow made it pos­si­ble to get our crews and equip­ment up in the air in incred­i­ble time,” Ser­nel said.

“It was a tir­ing mis­sion with two roundtrip flights, more than 17 hours of flight time, and hours of load­ing and offload­ing equip­ment,” he added. “But when you con­sid­er the life­sav­ing equip­ment deliv­ered and the bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship that was bol­stered, doing all this was worth the effort.”

The mis­sion was “incred­i­ble” from all per­spec­tives, said Air Force Mas­ter Sgt. Kei­th Houin, USAFE pub­lic affairs doc­u­men­ta­tion team leader. “It was impres­sive to see the orches­tra­tion of hun­dreds of air­men, two nations and so much equip­ment on such short notice. Any­one who touched even the small­est piece of this mis­sion should be proud of what they did. We showed the world that the Unit­ed States is a great part­ner.”

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

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