War on Terrorism

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reservists air drop life-sustaining cargo in Iraq

by Eric M. White
910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

8/26/2014 - YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio -- C-130H Hercules aircrews from here saved lives by delivering food and water to people stranded in Northern Iraq.

The missions began at night Aug. 8 for the reservists from Youngstown's 757th Airlift Squadron, who deployed to Southwest Asia as part of the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

They were tasked with delivering humanitarian cargo to thousands of Iraqi refugees on Mount Sinjar. The refugees were isolated on the mountain after fleeing the Islamic extremist group ISIS. The stranded Iraqis faced dehydration and starvation.

"We know that when the equipment (and) cargo that we drop out of the C-130 lands, it's actually going to help people live," said Lt. Col. John Boccieri, who commands the 757th AS and 737th EAS. "That is the biggest reward of it all: when you know that your mission, your sacrifice, your training is able to improve the condition and lives of somebody who's in great need."

The first mission included a C-17 from the 816th Air Expeditionary Squadron, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and two C-130s from the 737th AS. The aircraft delivered 72 bundles of supplies, including 5,300 gallons of water and 8,000 Meals Ready to Eat. By Aug. 14, the Airmen had delivered 114,000 MREs and 35,000 gallons of water.

These missions took coordination with several parties, including Soldiers from the 11th Quartermaster Company, 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and 82nd Sustainment Brigade, who helped load the aircraft. During the first airdrop, the C-17 and C-130s were escorted by U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets.

Senior Airman Timothy Kantorak, a 757th AS loadmaster deployed to the 737th EAS, participated in the mission.

"It was a really rewarding experience having put in so much time training to really help out some people who really need help," Kantorak said.

The Citizen Airmen deployed from the 757th AS are scheduled to return home in September.

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