Friday, January 25, 2013

NATO Solidarity: U.S. Planes Move French Troops To Mali ~ Stop NATO

 via Stop NATO

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
January 25, 2013

U.S. operations continue in support of FrenchU.S. planes deliver French troops to Mali
By Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon

USAFE – AFAFRICA Public Affairs

ISTRES, France: The U.S. Air Force delivered on its promise to Paris by delivering French troops via airlift to Bamako, Mali, Jan. 21.

The first C-17 Globemaster III from Dover Air Force Base, Del., took off from here and landed in Bamako Monday afternoon and delivered more than 80,000 pounds of equipment and dozens of French soldiers.

France deployed its armed forces to the African country on Jan. 11, and requested assistance from other countries to transport armored regiments and troops…

In response to requested logistical support from the French, the U.S. deployed Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and multiple C-17 aircrews to the southern town of Istres, France, where there is a French air base.

The 621st has a unique capability, in that they are able to deploy, open an airfield, and establish, sustain and manage air mobility operations from that area. In this case, the planners are here to coordinate air support for the French military movements and load the U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Maj. David Gaulin, a contingency response element commander from the 621st, was one of the first on the ground to assess the airfield and determine requirements for operating out of Istres.

“We were able to show up here, set up communications with the United States and provided an initial assessment of what capabilities the French had and what capabilities we could bring to the operation within an hour of landing,” said Gaulin. 

Since beginning the air transportation missions from France to Bamako, the French and American military work closely together to prepare and load equipment on the C-17s.

The cargo and equipment is prepared by the French and then the load plans are given to the U.S. aircraft commander for review, said French air force Maj. Eric Chabaud, who is the chief of aircraft services in Istres.

The Airmen here will continue to support the French in the upcoming days, and continue to rely on the partnership that exists between France and the U.S.

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