Italy-based field support battalion packages humanitarian aid for Tunisia
March 4, 2011
- Workers in Italy prepare US humanitarian aid for delivery to Tunisia
LEGHORN ARMY DEPOT, Italy, March 4, 2011 -- The 3rd Battalion, 405th Army Field Support Brigade prepared a shipment of humanitarian aid supplies bound for Tunisia. U.S. military aircraft will deliver humanitarian supplies to Tunisia today, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters.
With an increasing need for humanitarian aid for refugees fleeing Libya, the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, or OFDA, turned to its 3rd Battalion service-provider and requested delivery of humanitarian aid supplies.
The battalion is responsible for the storage and maintenance of USAID emergency humanitarian assistance commodities under an inter-agency agreement between the Army and the U.S. State Department, and is experienced in the shipment of humanitarian aid supplies at a moment's notice.
"OFDA keeps our warehouses stocked for emergencies such as this, and we're well-equipped to get the supplies where OFDA needs them as quickly as possible," said Lt. Col. Richard Pierce, commander of the 3rd Bn., 405th AFSB - part of Army Sustainment Command's global network of field support activities. "We are grateful for the opportunity to assist the people of North Africa and to help alleviate their suffering in our own small way."
After receiving notification of needed supplies from OFDA, the battalion prepared 4,000 blankets, 40 rolls of plastic sheeting and 9,600 10-liter water containers for shipment. The shipment will depart the battalion by truck for delivery to Tunisia via military aircraft from the Pisa Military Airport. They will be distributed to USAID teams on the ground there.
According to Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, C-130s out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will deliver six pallets of aid supplies from stocks held in Italy, including 4,000 blankets, 40 rolls of plastic sheeting, and 9,600 10-liter water containers to Djerba, Tunisia.
"Our location in Italy gives us a unique logistics capability," Pierce explained. "Because we have access to both water and air transport capabilities within 30 minutes of Leghorn Army Depot, we can execute loading and transportation missions quickly and efficiently, ensuring that the aid reaches the disaster area as quickly as possible."
The flights are part of U.S. Africa Command-led Operation Odyssey Dawn, which is providing humanitarian assistance to people fleeing Libya in the wake of recent political uprisings and violence there.
President Barack Obama announced yesterday that the United States would give humanitarian aid and send military and civilian aircraft to assist refugees leaving Libya.
The battalion has a long working relationship with OFDA, previously having shipped supplies to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and Haiti, among others.
(Karen Parrish, American Forces Press Service, Washington, contributed to this report.)