A C-5 Galaxy from the 521st Air Mobility Wing, bound for Turkey, left Ramstein Wednesday with service members and supplies for the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in support of NATO’s Patriot Missile Battery deployment.
The flight followed an earlier delivery of equipment by an 86th Airlift Wing C-130J Super Hercules Monday.
“The 10th AAMDC is sending a small contingency of personnel … to provide command and control for Patriot batteries that are coming over from the continental United States to provide missile defense for our allies in Turkey,” said Maj. Joel Johnson, 10th AAMDC operations officer.
With Syria entering its 22nd month of civil war, the U.S. began deploying Patriot missiles into Turkey in an effort to help defend the NATO ally from potential threats of the Syrian conflict.
In a recent statement from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Panetta affirmed U.S. commitment to Turkey.
“We’ve made very clear … we’re going to protect countries in this region,” Panetta said last month. “We have to act … to make sure that we defend ourselves and make sure that Turkey can defend itself.”
The deployment of U.S. forces was approved after coordination between the Department of Defense and NATO.
“Supporting missions like this is something I’ve been doing my whole career and I love doing it; being able to be a part of helping an ally, it’s a great honor,” said Tech. Sgt. Scott Blais, a flight engineer with the 337th Airlift Squadron, Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass. “This mission is important because we are supporting our allies in Europe, and the U.S. government feels that this is important for us to do.”
Ramstein Air Base’s support is pivotal in delivering combat and humanitarian airlift throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.
“As the gateway to Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East, we enable the deployment of strategic capabilities,” said Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde, 86th AW commander. “We are committed to the success of our joint force and allies and are always ready to partner with them to achieve our common security objectives.”