Archive for September 1, 2010

PAKISTAN: The (Air) Cavalry is Coming (UPDATE 9/2/10)

Additional U.S. Army helos arrive in Pakistan (Updated)

The first two U.S. Army helicopters dispatched from Alaska to assist flood relief efforts in Pakistan have arrived Pakistan’s Chaklala Air Force Base.

U.S. airmen and soldiers take the straps off UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters aboard a C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane at Chaklala Air Force Base, Pakistan. (Defense Dept. photo)

As 4GWAR reported late Monday, the UH-60 Black Hawk medium lift transport helicopters are the first of 18 rotor craft – 10 CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters and eight Black Hawks – from the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade.

And 40 Airmen from the U.S. Air Force’s 621st Contingency Response Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.  are at Chaklala AFB, providing additional manpower, equipment and organization to current flood relief operations

The helos are being flown from Fort Wainwright, Alaska to Pakistan on U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft. The Army helicopters, which have to be reassembled and prepped for relief and rescue operations, aren’t expected to take to the air until mid-September.

They will join 15 U.S. military helicopters already conducting flood relief efforts in Pakistan. That contingent includes three MH-53E Sea Dragon heavy lift helos from the Navy’s Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (HM15) Detachment and 12 Marine Corps choppers from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Marines are flying eight CH-46 Sea Knights and four CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165.

Another four Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallions are scheduled to arrive later this week with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The 26th MEU is coming to Pakistan with the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Readiness Group. U.S. officials note the aircraft and personnel were requested by the Pakistani military. The Navy and Marine Corps helicopters relieved a unit of the Army’s 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade sent from Afghanistan shortly after the flooding began.

To date, U.S. military aircraft supporting flood-relief efforts in Pakistan have transported more than three million pounds of humanitarian assistance supplies and rescued more than 10,000 people , according to information provided by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

U.S. Navy CH-53 Sea Dragon cargo helicopter over Pakistan. (Navy photo by Capt. Paul Duncan)

More than 1,600 people have died in Pakistan and millions are homeless following heavy monsoon rains that flooded more than 20 percent of the country.

Relief cargo is also being flown into Pakistan by C-17s from  Britain’s Royal Air Force. As we get word of flood relief efforts by NATO countries and other international donors we’ll add them to this posting.

More U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters are on their way to Pakistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Monica K. Smith)

For more Defense Department photos and articles about the Pakistan flood relief effort, click here.

A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for flood response efforts in Pakistan can be found at www.interaction.org. Information about organizations responding to the humanitarian situation in Pakistan may be available at www.reliefweb.int.

September 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm 1 comment


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