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McChord air crews will ferry choppers to Afghanistan for help in Pakistan aid effort

Post by Kris Sherman / The News Tribune on Aug. 21, 2010 at 11:05 am |
August 21, 2010 12:21 pm

Air crews from the 62nd and 446th airlift wings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are set to leave Monday to help in the U.S. relief effort for victim’s of Pakistan’s catastrophic floods.

They’ll fly two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to Cherry Point, N.C., to pick up helicopters and transport them to Afghanistan, Tech. Sgt. Oshawn Jefferson, said this morning.

The choppers will be assembled in Afghanistan before they’re flown into Pakistan to help render humanitarian aid, Jefferson said.

The local crews are scheduled to take off from McChord Field Monday afternoon.

The McChord airmen will be joined by two crews and planes from Charleston, S.C., for the mission to Afghanistan, Jefferson said.

He didn’t know how long the crews might be away or exactly how many airmen might be involved in the aid effort.

“Most of the time, it’s two pilots, an aircraft commander and two loadmasters,” he said, adding that one aircraft might carry a crew of five or six.

“They’ll be on call as long as they’re needed,” Jefferson said.

A news release posted on the McChord Field website said active duty and reserve crews would participate in the effort.

The 62nd is McChord’s active duty wing; the 446th is the reserve unit. Both fly C-17 Globmaster III aircraft.

“The U.S. is committed to the welfare of the people of Pakistan and will continue to provide assistance during this period of terrible suffering,” 62nd Airlift Wing commander Col. Kevin J. Kilb said in the news release.

At least 6 million Pakistanis are homeless and an estimated 20 million have been affected by the flooding that began in late July after heavy monsoon rains.

The U.S. has pledged some $150 million in aid; the United Nations has made an appeal for worldwide assistance of around $460 million.

The Department of Defense reported earlier this week that U.S. Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, U.S. Air Force C-130s and other aircraft were participating in the relief effort.

You can read more about U.S. military aid here.

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