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Airmen support earthquake relief efforts in Ecuador

An Air Force team sets up a mobile air traffic control tower at Eloy Alfaro International Airport in Manta, Ecuador, April 26, 2016. The portable tower will help local controllers increase the flow of humanitarian aid entering the country. The United States, in coordination with the Ecuadorian government, deployed 12 U.S Airmen to Ecuador to support international relief efforts for victims of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. (Courtesy photo/U.S. Embassy Quito)

An Air Force team sets up a mobile air traffic control tower at Eloy Alfaro International Airport in Manta, Ecuador, April 26, 2016. The portable tower will help local controllers increase the flow of humanitarian aid entering the country. The United States, in coordination with the Ecuadorian government, deployed 12 U.S Airmen to Ecuador to support international relief efforts for victims of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. (Courtesy photo/U.S. Embassy Quito)

MANTA, Ecuador (AFNS) -- The United States, in coordination with the Ecuadorian government, deployed 12 U.S. Airmen to Ecuador this week to support ongoing international relief efforts for victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the South American country April 16.

The deployment includes an eight-member airfield assessment team that arrived in Manta on April 22 to help in assessing damage to the airfield and to identify necessary repairs. A four-member team with a mobile air traffic control tower arrived April 26 to help Eloy Alfaro Airport controllers increase the flow of humanitarian aid entering the country.

The initial assessment team is scheduled to redeploy to their home station later this week, officials said.

Portable, durable equipment


The mobile air traffic control tower is designed to quickly establish air traffic services in austere environments to support aircraft movements in and out of airfields. Mobile air traffic control systems can be set up to be fully operational within 90 minutes, providing portable, durable, and modular radio communications and air traffic services equipment.

U.S. Southern Command directed the deployment at the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, the lead federal agency coordinating U.S. foreign disaster response efforts in Ecuador.

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