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PACOM deploys humanitarian assistance team to Nepal from Kadena

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zackary A. Henry
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Pacific Command deployed a Joint Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team to Nepal from Kadena Air Base early April 29, in an effort to assist earthquake relief efforts.

Kadena's Airmen worked through the night to load the team's 20-plus members and gear into a U.S. Marine Corps C-130 Hercules for the departure.

The joint survey team will support a U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Disaster Assistance Response Team in Nepal, according to PACOM officials. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, commander of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, will lead the team.

Air Force Lt. Col. Glenn Rineheart, commander of the 36th Mobility Readiness Squadron on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, deployed as a team member.

"The U.S. Air Force's role is to expedite the arrival of aid and responders into Nepal by using strategic and inter-theater airlifts," Rineheart said.

The massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25. The death toll has soared to nearly 5,000, with thousands more injured.

The Air Force had already sent two C-17 Globemaster IIIs from the U.S. to support relief operations.

The first C-17 delivered 70 personnel, including a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team, and 45 square tons of cargo, to assist relief operations. The second C-17 carried approximately 50 passengers, including a Los Angeles-based urban search and rescue team, working dogs and additional relief supplies.

Air Force senior leaders have lauded the initial efforts.

"Whenever and wherever our Air Force is needed, Airmen are ready to answer the call," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "Our Airmen are proud to deliver critical humanitarian relief and comfort to others during a time of need."

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III echoed those sentiments.

"With humanitarian relief operations, there is always a tremendous spirit of cooperation and support," Welsh said. "The Air Force is able to use its global reach and partner with other agencies to deliver timely assistance. Our Airmen continue to make me proud."