By Senior Airman J.G. Buzanowski, USAF
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Oct. 8, 2006 – A trio of U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters and their crews began delivering rebuilding supplies yesterday to people living in the northwestern part of the country, which was ravaged by a 7.6 earthquake last year.
The helicopter crews flew in 3,000 sheets of corrugated iron for temporary housing to remote villages in the area, located about 60 miles northeast of here.
"If we can get these supplies to the people, it increases their chance of survival when the winter months get here," said Army Warrant Officer 3 Robert Shrader, a pilot assigned to the mission.
The three twin-engine, tandem rotor helicopters delivered metal sheets, weighing in at 10,000 pounds per airframe, to four villages in the area. In addition to the iron panels, the crews will also deliver bags of concrete mix, steel rebar and pipes, Shrader said.
"It's definitely important for us to be here and it's a good feeling to know we're helping the people of Pakistan," the Dallas native said. "Many of us were here last year just after the earthquake happened, so to see the reconstruction progressing and seeing these people continue on with their lives is very satisfying. I'm glad I get to be a part of it."
Oct. 8 marks the one-year anniversary of the disaster. Several areas will hold commemoration ceremonies, including a moment of silence and visits from President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. The soldiers will continue to deliver rebuilding materials over the next few days.