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AMC answering humanitarian call in aftermath of Katrina

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS) --- Moving people, equipment and supplies is an everyday occurrence for Air Mobility Command aircraft, especially when providing humanitarian relief. For that reason, the Tanker Airlift Control Center here has started generating missions AMC aircraft and Airmen will fly in support of relief operations in Louisiana and Mississippi following Monday's devastating Hurricane Katrina.

According to Col. Jeff Franklin, the TACC controller working hurricane relief mission taskings, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, through Northern Command and U.S. Transportation Command, has asked for airlift support to fly relief supplies to the stricken region.

"We've already tasked two aeromedical evacuation airlift missions to fly from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., to Kelly in San Antonio, Texas," he said.

"In addition, AMC has been tasked to fly five other strategic airlift missions into Lafayette Regional Airport in Lafayette, La.," said Colonel Franklin. "Four of those are C-5s and the other is a C-17."

According to the colonel, the missions are flown by a mix of Total Force Airmen from active duty, Guard and Reserve bases across the nation. They've been tasked to move everything from inflatable boats to urban search and rescue team members and their equipment.

Because airports and airfields in the Biloxi, Miss., and New Orleans areas are without power due to extensive damage from the hurricane's high winds, rain and flooding, aircraft are primarily flying cargo and personnel into the Lafayette, which is located to the north and west of the coastal areas.

"A staging area for incoming cargo and personnel has not been established at this time; however, personnel from the 615th Contingency Response Wing at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., are flying in on the first C-5 to Lafayette," said Colonel Franklin. "They will serve as an advanced team to help receive the aircraft and cargo, and will stay there throughout."

According to Air Mobility Command Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Christopher A. Kelly, AMC is ready and committed to supporting the relief operations.

"AMC Airmen are capable of providing the emergency response support needed to help the region begin recovering from this devastating hurricane," he said. "They proved their capabilities and worth during tsunami relief operations in December (2004) and January (2005); and, just like it was then, Airlift will be a central part of this operation.

"We'll work hard to meet every request TRANSCOM validates for NORTHCOM and FEMA and sends our way," said General Kelly.

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