Europe-Based Airmen Prepare for Humanitarian-Relief Efforts
By 1st Lt. Jenny Lovett, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct. 27, 2004 More than 120 active-duty and reserve airmen of the 322nd Air Expeditionary Group arrived here Oct. 23 and 24 to set up airlift operations for the African Union.
A Ramstein Air Base, Germany-based C-130 Hercules
carrying U.S. Air Force members and supplies arrives at Kigali International
Airport, Rwanda, Oct. 23. About 120 airmen deployed to Rwanda to help transport
African Union troops to Sudan's Darfur region. Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Tolley,
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Within 48 hours, the group set up lodging, food, communications, transportation, maintenance, public affairs, a medical clinic and a full-up operations center. "These airmen have worked nonstop since arrival to ensure we are ready to go when we get the execute order," said Air Force Col. Robert Baine, 322nd commander. "They have set up a world-class operation."
The two C-130 Hercules aircraft that deployed with the 322nd AEG will transport African Union troops and supplies into Sudan's Darfur region, where more than 50,000 people have been killed and at least 1.5 million have lost their homes because of regional fighting.
"Right now, we're waiting on the execute order. So in the meantime, everyone is fine-tuning so that when the call comes down, we can walk out the door," said Air Force Capt. Heather Healy, 322nd Public Affairs officer.
The airmen here are a conglomerate of U.S. Air Forces in Europe active-duty airmen and reservists from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Georgia.
(Air Force 1st Lt. Jenny Lovett is assigned to 322nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.)