“I'm grateful to the men and women in uniform for the noble work they are doing. And they represent the best of America, the generous spirit of our country,” President Bush said about the humanitarian efforts.
“Our government's response to this tragedy … should say to the people of the world, ‘We care when somebody else suffers.'”
As of mid-December, the United States had delivered more than 45,000 blankets, 1,570 winterized tents and 6,150 rolls of plastic sheeting to fortify shelters for almost 31,000 families, U.S. defense officials said.
Since arriving in Pakistan Oct. 10, U.S. military forces have flown more than 2,700 helicopter flights, delivering more than 12 million pounds of relief supplies, and provided urgent medical care to at least 14,000 Pakistanis.
In the operation's early days, Navy Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, deployed from Gulfport, Miss., worked to clear roads of rubble and repair culverts in areas where ground transportation was cut off.
At the height of U.S. military operations there, more than 1,200 troops and 24 helicopters were on the ground. The helicopters provided vital transportation, logistics, medical and engineering support.
“These people need help, and it just feels good to be able to help,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Capili, a storekeeper with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, which was providing aid in Pakistan in early October.
At least nine military and civilian ships, including the USS Cleveland, the USS Tarawa and the USS Pearl Harbor, delivered equipment and supplies through the port of Karachi.
The 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital operated in Muzaffarabad, the quake's epicenter, starting Oct. 29. Elsewhere, personnel from the 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, treated patients in Shinkiari beginning Nov. 15.
U.S. airplanes and crews flew 10 strategic airlift sorties as part of NATO's relief efforts, as of late December. And the NATO mission delivered more than 2,700 tons of relief supplies.
During a Dec. 20 visit to the region, Vice President Richard B. Cheney called the U.S. relief mission “a remarkable success.”
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf took the opportunity to thank Cheney for America's support. “I don't think we could have managed the relief operation without your ships,” he said.