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Face of Defense: Airmen Assist Ebola Relief Efforts

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Sarah Keller
86th Airlift Wing

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany, Oct. 8, 2014 – Airmen from the 37th Airlift Squadron here loaded a C-130J Super Hercules with needed supplies and launched their first mission yesterday to West Africa in support of Operation United Assistance.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
A C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Ramstein Air Base in Germany prepares to head to West Africa loaded with relief supplies as part of relief efforts to confront the Ebola epidemic, Oct. 7, 2014. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sara Keller

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

U.S. Africa Command is working with the U.S. Agency for International Development to deliver much-needed support. Part of Africom’s effort is the tactical theater airlift provided by the 86th Airlift Wing, whose airmen are eager to do their part in the humanitarian effort.

Excited to support mission

“We’re super-excited to get down there and help as much as we can,” said Air Force Capt. Brian Shea, 37th AS aircraft commander. “The 37th AS is a key component in Africom’s mission to establish an air bridge for the operation. This mission is big for the 86th AW and our squadron.”

The United States is sending troops and material to treat patients, build field hospitals and is also training health care workers.

Although the 37th AS team expects to be on the ground in Liberia for only a few hours, Shea was confident his team was well prepared to handle any anticipated medical concerns, including receiving all required vaccinations and medical clearance to participate in missions throughout Africa.

Well-trained crew

“We’re not expecting to have any issues going into the theater,” Shea explained. “We’ve been briefed and trained on how to handle any medical concerns if need be.”

While this may be the first flight out of Ramstein to provide cargo support to OUA, the 37th AS is anticipating a consistent airflow requirement to assist with cargo and personnel transfer in and out of areas in need.

“I’m proud to be part of a mission like this,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Byrne, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief. “I’m ready to get down there and do some good things.”

The U.S. will continue to respond quickly and safely with African and international partners to help end the Ebola outbreak as soon as possible.


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