INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Türkiye (AFNS) --
Since Department of Defense support to U.S. Agency for International Development for earthquake relief to Türkiye began, the 728th Air Mobility Squadron has offloaded 5,764 tons of equipment and supplies from aircraft in coordination with 39th Operational Support Squadron, as of Feb. 12.
Since Feb. 6, and the start of relief support, daily air operations tempo increased 340% and the 39th OSS enabled 1,877 aircraft sorties, bringing international aid and personnel to support Türkiye.
Supporting U.S. aid efforts, Airmen assigned to the 728th AMS offloaded a 52-bed emergency field hospital tent from a chartered 747-400F in coordination with the 39th OSS at Incirlik Air Base, Feb. 10.
The role of U.S. military forces during the disaster relief mission is to rapidly respond to the natural disaster with critically needed capabilities and life-saving equipment, delivering assistance to aid areas the government of Türkiye deems most necessary.
According to 1st Lt. Joseph Flemming, 728th AMS resource and readiness flight commander, the 728th AMS Airmen have played a critical role in downloading cargo and equipment for the relief effort to those in need throughout the country.
“We’re the only American squadron on base that is trained to download equipment and passengers of aircraft and we’ve downloaded over 210 aircraft since relief operations began Monday,” Flemming said. “We knew with the hospital tent that we had to download it quickly, as they are needed desperately off base.”
“Overall, the 39th OSS, in concert with Turkish partners, leads world-class airfield and support operations to orchestrate and control U.S.-Turkish, and coalition forces operating at Incirlik AB in the execution of full-spectrum operations to include humanitarian operations,” said Lt. Col. Octavio Prieto, 39th OSS commander. “Specifically, the OSS provides air traffic control, weather services, intelligence support, airfield management, and airfield systems maintenance.”
Flemming added that many of the Airmen have been stationed at Incirlik AB for enough time to develop close personal connections with Türkiye’s people and culture.
“It’s been painful for us see the news of the devastation around the country, and our hearts are grieving with our Turkish allies,” he said.
Although the 728th AMS and 39th OSS have worked tirelessly to provide relief to those affected, the teams fully intend to continue supporting its humanitarian efforts.
“We’re happy to be tied so closely to the relief efforts with our Turkish air force teammates, who are working jointly with us to get cargo moved to areas most impacted by the earthquake as fast and safely as possible,” Flemming explained.
The U.S. military is working in support of USAID, the government of Türkiye and allies and partners to provide relief to the people of Türkiye. The 39th ABW is committed to facilitating disaster relief operations to rapidly reduce the suffering of the victims of this disaster.