Airmen assist Burundi’s first deployment

by Capt. Erin Dorrance
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

***image1***Members of the 86th Contingency Response Group deployed to Burundi
Dec. 1 to train the country’s foreign military in deployment planning, personnel and cargo preparation and processing for its first-ever deployment outside the Burundi border.

The ongoing operation is to support the United Nations in Somalia.
The small African country, about the size of Maryland, is projected to deploy 1,700 soldiers and 160 tons of cargo into Somalia, utilizing Ugandan C-130 aircraft.

Burundi’s troops will join 1,600 Ugandan soldiers based in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

In order to make the deployment successful, the 86th CRG deployed mobility experts to assist with this historical deployment.

“I get to do missions like this all over Europe and Africa as part of the 86th CRG,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason Kaneshiro, 86th Air Mobility Squadron. “But, this one was especially rewarding because we were starting from scratch and able to affect their first deployment as a national force outside their own country.”

The small team, requested by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi, trained the Burundi Forces de Defense Nationale in several aspects of deploying including weapon clearing checks, positioning and loading of C-130 aircraft as well as building pallets.

The foreign military quickly learned the new processes.

“They (Burundi’s military) are a very professional force of experienced fighters,” said Capt. William Stayberg, 86th CRG deployed commander. “They were extremely excited to learn common U.S. military practices in air movement and logistics planning.”

A team of mobility experts from the 86th CRG will remain in Burundi until the deployment of their first battalion is complete, he said.