PACAF provides airlift to peacekeeping operation

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Charles Ramey
  • Kenney Headquarters Public Affairs
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.”