It was a scene of caring and cooperation as Royal Thai and U.S. armed forces packaged and readied for shipment pallets of blankets bound for Kathmandu, Nepal, May 19.
The blankets, provided by the Thai government, support earthquake relief efforts and will help displaced Nepalese in need of warmth and comfort.
“This is a great opportunity and a great experience,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Juan Ramos, Joint Task Force 505. “The Thais have been helping us and we’ve been helping them, so this is a great partnership that we have.”
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Minihan (center left) and Royal Thai Navy Rear Adm. Graisrl Gesom (center right) visit the site of the pallet load and thank everyone involved with the mission.
Before the pallets were loaded, logistics coordinators briefed the group on proper pallet building and safety procedures. Soon after, the mounds of boxes were organized into square pallet packages ready for their trek.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Dennis Char, a JTF-505 airlift movement coordinator, helped organize the joint effort and highlighted its importance.
“This is a great opportunity to work in conjunction with our Thai counterparts and move the blankets they provided to give to the Nepalese,” Char said. “This has been a great opportunity to work as a joint unit.”
Currently, U-Tapao is the location for the JTF-505 Intermediate Staging Base, and works closely with the Royal Thai Armed Forces on movements of cargo and personnel in and out of Nepal in support of Operation Sahayogi Haat. The Thais established the Thai-U.S. HADR Combined Coordination Center for Nepal to accomplish this joint mission.
Royal Thai Navy Rear Adm. Graisrl Gesom, the Thai-U.S. HADR CCC for Nepal director, and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Minihan, JTF-505 Joint Air Component Coordination Element commander, visited the site of the pallet load and thanked everyone involved with the mission.
“Thank you for your time today. This is really important for the people of Nepal that we work together and find a way to get them what they need,” Minihan said.
In all, about 18 pallets weighing 22,000 pounds will be loaded onto U.S. aircraft and flown into Nepal, where they can be dispersed to Nepalese in need.
|From the US Embassy in Bangkok
As part of the ongoing joint operations of the Thai-U.S Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) Combined Coordination Center for Nepal at the Royal Thai Navy Airfield U-Tapao, Thai and U.S. forces are working side-by-side to package and ship pallets of supplies to Kathmandu, Nepal via U.S. C-130 aircraft. The supplies, provided by the Thai government and the people of Thailand, support earthquake relief efforts and will help displaced Nepalese in need. Total U.S. government humanitarian assistance for the Nepal earthquake response now stands at approximately $47 million.