SOG Airmen continue supporting Indonesian relief efforts

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
Air Commandos from the 353rd Special Operations Group continue supporting humanitarian relief operations more than one week after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake and a large aftershock struck near Padang in western Indonesia.

Approximately 60 members of the 353rd SOG are in Indonesia at several locations providing their unique expertise in key areas to multiple organizations supporting relief efforts across the affected area.

MC-130P Combat Shadow aircrews have flown more than 15 flights and continue to provide airlift for emergency response teams, equipment and relief supplies, and provide damage assessments throughout the affected area. The aircrews have moved approximately 100 people, and more than 160,000 pounds of cargo, food, medical supplies and miscellaneous equipment.

Without using forklifts, ground personnel have also offloaded more than 130 pallets of relief supplies, food and equipment from Australian, U.S. and Singaporean aircraft delivering aid to the Padang area.

Combat controllers assigned to the 353rd SOG assisted Indonesian military forces in surveying and opening Tabing Airfield, a closed military airstrip near Padang. The combat controllers and Indonesian Air Force air traffic controllers are manning the airfield to support fixed and rotary wing aircraft assisting relief operations. Combat controllers are trained special operations forces and certified air traffic controllers who can establish airfields while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, command and control, and humanitarian assistance in austere locations.

In addition to the airfield opening and search and recovery support, 353rd SOG medical personnel have visited numerous medical stations throughout the area and provided assistance. Communication teams have also set up deployable packages at the several locations for many of the relief organizations in the area.