133rd Airlift Wing assists with Pakistan flood relief

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Mark Moss
  • 133rd Airlift wing Public Affairs
Minnesota air crew members continue to assist international relief efforts in Pakistan following deadly flooding in the region that began on July 29, 2010. The first U.S. relief flight into Pakistan was on a Minnesota Air National Guard C-130H "Hercules", filled with emergency relief supplies from Bagram, Afghanistan.

"We received the call shortly after the rain," said Lt. Col. Andy Burda, Deputy of Operations for the774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron stationed at Bagram, "and had to do several hours of research to see if we could even get in to that region of Pakistan, to see which field was suitable for our C-130's. Our Tactics shop multi-tasked and helped with the research while planning emergency airdrops to troops in Afghanistan needing fuel and water; it has been fantastic!"

There have been numerous missions with Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing, who are currently deployed to Bagram Air Field in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, flying into Pakistan bringing supplies and equipment. A mission on August 8, 2010 brought food, cots, pumps, compressors, and other aid to the flood ravaged region.

"Americans expect their government to help people in dire need," said U. S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson on August 8, "and we are doing just that. We will be doing all we can to support the Pakistan government's relief efforts in the weeks ahead."

Lt. Col. Burda, a C-130 command pilot from Minnesota, said on August 12, "Our crews are completely immersed in the war effort and to have them switch gears in such a way is a credit to their professionalism and to their common devotion to what makes America great, that we always will come to the aid of those in need, even while engaged in combat operations."

As of Aug 12, 2010, Minnesota crews have flown 80 tons of cargo and 20 support workers to austere airfields in Pakistan.

In addition to the relief effort in Pakistan, Minnesota crews fly many other missions supporting operations in Southwest Asia. During the month of July 2010, Airmen deployed from the 109th Airlift Squadron in Minnesota assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in Afghanistan flew almost 400 sorties in C-130s, moving about five thousand troops and hauling over 1100 tons of supplies and equipment. Fifteen of those missions in July were airdrops where crews fly the C-130 into remote areas and deliver food, ammunition and other critical supplies to American and Allied troops by parachute.

The 133rd Airlift Wing, based at the Minneapolis - St. Paul international airport, has over 200 men and women deployed around the world supporting U.S. operations. Most are in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they include C-130 aircrew members, maintenance, logistics, security, medical and other support Airmen.

More than 400 Airmen have deployed from the 133rd Airlift Wing throughout 2010.

Thirty Security Forces Squadron Airmen are in Iraq supporting draw down operations into next year. The 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron has 26 medical professionals in Southwest Asia, Germany and other locations, whose job is to fly with wounded service members from the battlefield to hospitals in Europe and the United States.

In 2009 the 133rd Airlift Wing deployed more than 700 Airmen to 16 countries in support of U. S. operations. Since September 11, 2001, the Wing has deployed over 4600 Airmen to locations around the world supporting overseas contingency operations.

The Twin Cities-based 133rd Airlift Wing is comprised of approximately 1,250 men and women who serve in support of state and national needs.