Ramstein C-130s began departing Friday to Akrotiri, Cyprus, delivering
medical supplies, aircraft parts and aerial porters requested by the
U.S. State Department to help American citizens and their family
members depart Lebanon.
Four 37th Airlift Squadron C-130s carried 34 passengers and 28 tons of
supplies to Cyprus, said Maj. Robert Blagg, 37th AS commander.
“We are happy to be part of the large joint effort going on to assist
fellow Americans,” he said. “We have been prepared since July 18 to
support this mission.”
Ramstein’s C-130s were not requested to transport American citizens
leaving Lebanon, he said. However, the planes were essential in
resupplying the Akrotiri staging facility with Ramstein personnel and
The C-130s transported 435th Medical Group and 86th Contingency
Response Group personnel who are assisting in the staging facility for
Lebanon’s authorized departees on their way back to the U.S.
“Our team members are staying very busy, providing care to all those in
need,” said Col. Rudolph Cachuela, 435th Medical Group deputy
The 22-member medical team has been providing primary care to departees
since Friday and will stay as long as they are requested, he said.
In addition to the medical team, a flight surgeon was deployed
alongside a 14-person 86th CRG team that is providing aerial port
services for military planes in Akrotiri, said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Renner,
86th CRG deputy commander. The 86th CRG team also operates
forklifts to assist in loading and offloading the military aircraft
transiting through the area.
“This is what we train for,” said Colonel Renner who remarked that
Akrotiri was glad to see his 15-person team arrive on scene Friday to
join a single, exhausted aerial porter.
Government officials estimate 17,000 Americans have voluntarily left
Lebanon. The U.S. State Department and Department of Defense will
continue helping these American citizens return home.
“Team Ramstein is trained and assisting in any way we can,” said Col. Glen Apgar, 86th Airlift Wing vice commander.