Come one, come all. Albanian families poured into their town hall building in Kruja last week as Ramstein Airmen handed out more than 400 pounds of much needed clothing, books and household items.
***image1***Detachment one, including members of the 86th Air and Space Communications Group’s 1st Combat Communications Squadron, 603rd Air Communications Squadron, 603rd Air Operations Center, 435th Medical Group, and 3rd Air Force A7 directorate, are currently deployed to Tirana, Albania in support of Operation Sky Marshall. The focus of the deployment is to provide a combat air patrol over Albanian air space for President Bush’s historic visit to Albania.
“Whenever we deploy on missions or exercises, we take the opportunity to give back to the host nations in an effort to thank them for their support,” said Senior Airman Benjamin Hunter, 1st CBCS SATCOM technician.
“This kind of stuff only happens about once every three years in Albania,” said Altin Gun, U.S. Embassy liaison. “The average household income in this country is equivalent to only $200 a month, so Albanians greatly appreciate this gesture.”
“We heard that the embassy had collected household goods from members who had recently departed the country, so we asked if we could take the clothes to a nearby village to distribute to the local citizens,” said Airman 1st ClassRichard Greene, 1st CBCS radio technician.
Albania is one of the poorest Balkan countries and has upwards of 30 percent unemployment due to the decline in farming, according to CIA reports.
The country, whose economy relies on harvesting crops and raising livestock, is populated with many struggling villages like Kruja. The detachment team members are highly trained Airmen who deploy frequently in support of various operations and exercises. The team continues to set the bar with respect to the success they have achieved but, by also continuing to take the initiative for establishing cooperative relations with the nations they visit.