Military Uses Air, Sea Power to Aid Pakistan
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2005 The U.S. military is using a variety of air and sea assets to move supplies to earthquake-stricken Pakistan, the Joint Staff's deputy director for regional operations said today in a State Department briefing.
Strategic lifts from Europe, the U.S. and the Persian Gulf region have been used, Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham said. Maritime lifts are transporting large quantities of equipment and material. Helicopters are distributing supplies within the country, and airdrop missions are delivering supplies to remote areas out of reach of the helicopters.
"This is all in an effort to get needed supplies and equipment to the places where they are most needed," he said.
The magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Pakistan, India and Afghanistan Oct. 8, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was located near Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, and about 60 miles north-northeast of Islamabad.
To date, the U.S. military has spent $56 million on relief efforts in Pakistan, E. Anthony Wayne, assistant secretary of state for economics and business affairs, said at the briefing. That amount is in addition to the $100 million pledged by other U.S. government agencies and the $46 million donated by Americans in the private sector, Wayne said.
U.S. helicopters have completed more than 750 missions, delivering more than 1,700 tons of humanitarian-relief supplies, Ham said. Also, about 7,500 people have been transported for medical or other reasons. Strategic airlift missions have delivered more than 3,700 tons of supplies.
In addition to air assets, the military has ground support in Pakistan. A military hospital is operational and treating its first patients, Ham said, and a U.S. Navy construction battalion from Okinawa, Japan, is conducting a variety of engineering operations, including construction and road clearance.
The military support in Pakistan is coordinated with other U.S. organizations and, most importantly, the Pakistani government, Ham said.
"The operations that we do conduct are done in close coordination with the Pakistani military," he said. "It's their country, and we recognize that."
All U.S. relief flights have a Pakistani military official on board, which helps in more than one way, Ham said. "It helps us because there's someone who's familiar with the route and the area, and it's very helpful on the ground, to the people to whom the materials are being delivered, to have a representative of their government on the ground with them," he said.