Three C-130 Hercules aircraft from the 86th Airlift Wing and approximately 40 Airmen departed here early Saturday headed to Kigali, Rwanda, to begin a month-long airlift mission to the Darfur region of Sudan.
The mission is part of NATO’s response to support the African Union’s expanded peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan, with logistics and training.
Approximately 150 Airmen from Ramstein and RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, with additional strategic support from U.S. Transportation Command, will rotate approximately 1,200 Rwandan troops from Kigali, Rwanda, to El Fashir, Sudan, beginning sometime next week.
The U.S. airlift is part of the larger multinational effort to improve security and create conditions in which humanitarian assistance can be more effectively provided to the people of Darfur. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced on June 9 that the alliance would help the AU expand its peacekeeping force in Darfur from 3,300 to about 7,700 in the coming months.
U.S. European Command began the deployment of Airmen and equipment to Rwanda July 14.
About 120 U.S. Air Forces in Europe Airmen and two C-130 aircraft from Ramstein deployed to Africa in October 2004 to conduct a similar mission.
Niger AF visits 86th AW
by Capt. Jenny Lovett
Members of the Niger Air Force researched U.S. tactical airlift doctrine with units from the 86th Airlift Wing here July 6.
Col. Hassan Mossi, deputy chief of staff for the Niger Air Force, along with three other key members of the Niger Air Force met with Ramstein Airmen to learn airdrop load rigging, mission planning, medevac techniques and other airlift operation procedures.
“The Niger Air Force split from the Army in December 2003 and became an independent body,” said Col. Hassan Mossi, deputy chief of staff of the Niger Air Force.
He and his staff wanted to see established programs and learn from them, said Capt. Christine Legawiec, 37th Airlift Squadron chief of safety.
“There is no need to re-invent the wheel just because we are a new Air Force,” said the colonel.
While they were here they visited the 86th Operations Group, Ramstein Consolidated Command Post, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Mobility Operations Control Center and the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron. There was an additional team of five maintenance officers who visited the 86th Maintenance Group to learn about U.S. maintenance practices.
“The best part is what you did not show us, but what we observed,” said Colonel Mossi. “Every person knows their job and is constantly striving for perfection.”
Colonel Mossi hopes to instill that sense of pride in the job in the troops back home in Niger. “The visit was a huge success,” said Captain Legawiec. “Overall he was ‘very impressed’ with the people he met while he was here and the efficiency of Ramstein operations despite being so busy.”