National Guard Aids With Pakistani Flood Relief
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 20, 2010 The Air National Guard has been working since the beginning of the operation in late July to provide relief supplies to areas in Pakistan affected by flooding.
Vermont Army National Guard soldiers pull a liner open to spread it out before placing a fuel bladder on top as part of a forward area refueling point, Aug. 10, 2010. The team worked as part of the flood relief effort in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Horace Murray
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Air Force Col. Greg Nelson, deputy director of mobility forces for U.S. Air Forces Central Command, is a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing. He is now at Chaklala Air Base in Islamabad, Pakistan, one of the main air hubs for the flood relief effort.
“We are working in concert with the Pakistani air force and the government of Pakistan to try to bring air relief in here and then dispatch it throughout the nation where it is needed,” Nelson told a military reporter Aug. 18.
The 10,000-square-foot warehouse where he works can fill up in a day, Nelson said, depending on how many aircraft arrive from the supporting countries.
“This is a large airfield, so larger aircraft can come in and bring shipments of medications or supplies,” Nelson said. “We will break it down into smaller loads on tactical airlift aircraft like the C-130 to go into flood-affected areas.”
Air Force Capt. Robert Dodson, a C-130 Hercules pilot deployed from the 182nd Airlift Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard, was the aircraft commander on the first mission into Pakistan.
"We had a quick response from the time we were notified to the time the pallets were on the airplane," he said. "The whole reason why we're here is to help others when we can, and the whole crew is happy to do it."
Dodson and his crew are currently assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing’s 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. On July 31, Dodson’s crew in a C-130 from the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard delivered nearly 8,000 packaged meals that conform with Islamic law to Pakistan.
Nelson said the U.S. and Pakistani air forces, along with several government and nongovernment agencies, are working together to provide relief to the devastated areas.