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USTRANSCOM delivers Urban Search and Rescue teams to Türkiye

Members of Urban Search and Rescue Virginia Task Force 1, Fairfax County, Virginia, board a C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 7, 2023. The U.S. Agency for International Development is mobilizing emergency humanitarian assistance to respond to the devastating impacts in Türkiye following the worst earthquake to hit the region in almost a century. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is transporting two Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams and a critical aid package to Türkiye, following the devastating earthquakes that occurred on Feb. 5.


Two Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft departed Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and March Air Reserve Base, California, on Feb. 7, carrying 161 USAR personnel, 12 canines and 170,000 lb (77,000 kg) of specialized equipment, which will supplement the USAID members that are already in Türkiye.


Urban Search and Rescue members from Fairfax County, Virginia, are boarded onto a C-17 Globemaster III on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 7, 2023. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is mobilizing emergency humanitarian assistance to respond to the devastating impacts in Türkiye following the worst earthquake to hit the region in almost a century. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Faith Barron)


“Our hearts go out to Türkiye following the devastating earthquakes,” said Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, USTRANSCOM commander. “USTRANSCOM is working closely with USAID to deliver aid to the country, with U.S. assistance already underway.”


Among the passengers are 79 USAR personnel and six canines from Fairfax County, Virginia, and 82 USAR personnel and six canines from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The USAR teams are made up of structural engineers, doctors, logistics personnel and technical search specialists.


The rescue equipment USTRANSCOM is sending to Türkiye includes concrete breakers, generators, medical supplies, tents, water, and water purification systems.


Senior Airman Garrett LaMarche, 6th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, pushes a cargo pallet onto a C-17 Globemaster III on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 7, 2023. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is mobilizing emergency humanitarian assistance to respond to the devastating impacts in Türkiye following the worst earthquake to hit the region in almost a century. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marco A. Gomez)


Within 24 hours of initial notification, both the USAR teams and cargo were in place, loaded onto the C-17s and enroute to assist in ongoing rescue efforts.


“In our profession, nothing is more noble than delivering humanitarian aid to those in need, and we are proud to support our ally Türkiye,” Van Ovost said.


Powered by dedicated men and women, USTRANSCOM provides the U.S. the ability to rapidly respond to global crises at a moment’s notice.


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