US delivers aid to Turkish earthquake victims

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wilson
U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs

The U.S. European Command sent two C-130J Super Hercules loaded with cots, blankets, sleeping bags and hygiene kits to northeastern Turkey Oct. 29 to aid victims of a recent earthquake there.

The C-130Js from the 86th Airlift Wing departed Ramstein to deliver the supplies to the Van region of Turkey, which was devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake Oct. 23. More than 500 people were killed by the earthquake and about 2,300 people are injured.

“The earthquake in Van really hit a couple of areas hard, but it is great to be able to help our friends,” said Laird Treiber, of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. “Turkey is a long standing ally and they have helped us out in the past, so it feels good to be able to help them.”

The flights were the first of several planned. In total, EUCOM plans to deliver approximately 1,700 blankets, 2,675 cots, 275 sleeping bags, and 350 tents and heating units.

“We are always ready,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Driscoll, 37th Airlift Squadron and aircraft commander. “This humanitarian aid mission is a great example of the strong partnership that exists between our two nations.”

The U.S. State Department through the U.S. Embassy in Turkey and the U.S. Defense Department through U.S. European Command responded to the Turkish government’s request for aid as a result of the earthquake in Turkey.