War on Terrorism

Monday, August 18, 2014

US, Poland train for humanitarian missions to Iraq

by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton

8/18/2014 - POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland -- Partnering with U.S. Air Force Airmen deployed to Powidz Air Base, Poland, loadmasters from both nations began training together, Aug. 11, to sharpen the skills necessary for Polish airmen to conduct humanitarian missions to Iraq.

"We want to be on the same page," said Polish Sierż (Sgt.) Hieronim Chabras, 33rd Transportation Air Base C-130E loadmaster. "It is good to go over this training together before a mission like this."

The joint training was especially beneficial to the Airmen deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. To date, U.S. military aircraft have delivered more than 27,000 gallons of fresh drinking water and nearly 100,000 meals to the displaced and endangered Iraqi people. The C-130's, flown by both Polish and American forces, are uniquely suited to handle the mass container delivery airdrops meant to alleviate the suffering in Iraq.

"Mass container delivery airdrops are one of the most effective ways to deliver combat and non-combat supplies and equipment," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Chelsea Sirmans, 86th Operational Support Squadron joint airdrop inspector. "It's how we get the bullets, beans and bandages to the people who need them most, as quickly as possible."

The loadmasters came together to ensure both parties were as proficient as possible on their particular model of C-130. The Polish Air Force spent time brushing up on the technical specifications of the C-130E Hercules; while the U.S. Air Force compared and contrasted the operational procedures of the E-model with the C-130J Super Hercules.

"We just helped each other clarify a few things we already knew," said Sirmans. "In a situation like the one the Polish will be flying into, you want to be 100 percent proficient and supremely confident in your aircraft and your skills."

With the situation in Iraq growing more intense, the decision to act is not only welcome, it is essential - according to Christof Heyns, U.S. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

"We cannot stand by in the face of such atrocities," Heyns said in an interview. "International actors must do all in their power to support those on the ground with the capacity to protect lives."

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