PACAF provides airlift to peacekeeping operation

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- Master Sgt. Mike Cumberland, a C-17 loadmaster with the 535th Airlift Squadron, Hickam AFB Hawaii, measures a tie-down chain to ensure a Halvorsen aircraft pallet loader is safely secured prior to a strategic airlift mission May 25.  Hickam sent two C-17s and approximately 25 personnel to assist the Australian Defense Force move personnel and equipment to Australia from the Solomon Islands to support peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- Master Sgt. Mike Cumberland, a C-17 loadmaster with the 535th Airlift Squadron, Hickam AFB Hawaii, measures a tie-down chain to ensure a Halvorsen aircraft pallet loader is safely secured prior to a strategic airlift mission May 25. Hickam sent two C-17s and approximately 25 personnel to assist the Australian Defense Force move personnel and equipment to Australia from the Solomon Islands to support peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, HAWAII -- Staff Sgt. Nathan Rust, an aerial port specialist assigned to the 735th Air Mobility Squadron, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, backs a Halvorsen aircraft pallet loader onto a C-17 May 25.   Hickam Air Force Base sent the loaders along with two C-17s and approximately 25 personnel to assist the Australian Defense Force move personnel and equipment to Australia from the Solomon Islands in support of peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, HAWAII -- Staff Sgt. Nathan Rust, an aerial port specialist assigned to the 735th Air Mobility Squadron, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, backs a Halvorsen aircraft pallet loader onto a C-17 May 25. Hickam Air Force Base sent the loaders along with two C-17s and approximately 25 personnel to assist the Australian Defense Force move personnel and equipment to Australia from the Solomon Islands in support of peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, HAWAII -- Aircrew members and aerial port specialists  secure a Halvorsen aircraft pallet loader in a C-17 at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, May 25.  Hickam sent the loaders along with two C-17s and approximately 25 personnel to assist the Australian Defense Force move personnel and equipment to Australia from the Solomon Islands in support of peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, HAWAII -- Aircrew members and aerial port specialists secure a Halvorsen aircraft pallet loader in a C-17 at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, May 25. Hickam sent the loaders along with two C-17s and approximately 25 personnel to assist the Australian Defense Force move personnel and equipment to Australia from the Solomon Islands in support of peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, HAWAII -- Aircrew members and aerial port specialists  move a Halvorsen aircraft pallet loader onto a C-17 at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, May 25.  Hickam sent the loaders along with two C-17s and approximately 25 personnel to assist the Australian Defense Force move personnel and equipment to Australia from the Solomon Islands in support of peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, HAWAII -- Aircrew members and aerial port specialists move a Halvorsen aircraft pallet loader onto a C-17 at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, May 25. Hickam sent the loaders along with two C-17s and approximately 25 personnel to assist the Australian Defense Force move personnel and equipment to Australia from the Solomon Islands in support of peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane Cuomo)

Staff Sgt. Joleen Manuia tightens a cargo strap on an equipment pallet on a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Sunday, May 28, 2006. Sergeant Manuia is a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster with the Hawaii Air National Guard's 204th Airlift Squadron.  She is one of the Air Force crew members helping move equipment and troops from the Solomon Islands to Australia, repositioning Australian Defense Forces to support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

Staff Sgt. Joleen Manuia tightens a cargo strap on an equipment pallet on a C-17 Globemaster III at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Australia, on Sunday, May 28, 2006. Sergeant Manuia is a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster with the Hawaii Air National Guard's 204th Airlift Squadron. She is one of the Air Force crew members helping move equipment and troops from the Solomon Islands to Australia, repositioning Australian Defense Forces to support peace operations in East Timor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- Airmen from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii and Andersen Air Force Base Guam, are providing strategic airlift to the Australian Defense Force in support of peace operations in East Timor after continued unrest between East Timorese military forces and breakaway groups of police and military.

Two C-17s along with approximately 25 Airmen, consisting of aircrews from the U.S. Air Force’s 15th Airlift Wing and the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing as well as support personnel from Hickam’s 15th Logistics Readiness Squadron are en route to the Solomon Islands and Australia. Once on scene, members of Andersen’s 36th Contingency Response Group will join them to begin the repositioning of Australian forces and equipment to locations in Australia.

“The political situation in the capital of Dili remains fragile and violence is ongoing,” the U.S. Pacific Command released in a statement May 25. “The rapid positioning of these forces will enable the Australian Defense Forces to better respond to the situation in East Timor.”

East Timor asked for international assistance from Australia, New Zealand Malaysia and Portugal. U.S. Pacific Command tasked Pacific Air Forces to carry out the operation after the United States received a request for airlift from the government of Australia.

The Gen. George C. Kenney Headquarters at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, is the lead agent for the operation. Known as KHQ, the unit oversaw the planning and is responsible for command, control and execution of the mission.

“This support shows the capability of expeditionary U.S. forces, their rapid global mobility, and the value of forward-based forces,” said Lt. Gen. David Deptula, KHQ commander. “Australia is a long-time treaty ally, valued partner in security activities worldwide, and regional power. This support to the Australian Defense Force reaffirms the U.S. commitment to our allies, and to regional peace and stability.”