MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — Active-duty Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing and Reservists from the 446th AW are prepared to assist victims of Cyclone Nargis, which ravaged Myanmar (Burma) last week, leaving as many as 100,000 dead and millions homeless.
“A potential mission like this highlights the strategic importance of the C-17 (Globemaster III) and the unique capability of our Air Force,” said Col. Jeffrey Stephenson, 62nd AW commander. “If called upon McChord Airmen stand ready to assist in Myanmar (Burma) relief efforts in any way possible.”
Thus far, the Burmese government has allowed the U.S. to fly only limited relief missions to the country.
The 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the 18th Air Force hub for planning and directing tanker and transport aircraft operations around the world. TACC planners say some assets are already standing by and others can be dispatched on short notice.
One 618th TACC-tasked C-17 aircraft has been deployed to Thailand since last week to participate in the annual Cobra Gold exercise, and may be used to provide desperately needed supplies. In addition, two C-17 crews remain on alert at McChord.
“They are ready to support the Burma relief effort if called upon to do so,” said Col. Chris Moulton, 618th TACC Senior Controller.
“McChord Airmen stand ready to assist in global life-saving operations,” added Col. Stephenson. “We have the aircraft and Airmen capable of responding quickly and transporting necessary cargo anywhere in the world.”