Italian employees of the 3rd Battalion of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade on Camp Darby, Italy quickly constructed humanitarian aid pallets with aid from U.S. Agency for International Development as U.S. Navy sailors flew a C-130 from Signonella to Pisa and Italian military members rushed to assist in transporting the pallets from the trucks to the plane.
In what could be a logistical nightmare; instead was a well coordinated effort between NATO allies to provide much needed aid to the people of the Republic of Georgia according to Alberto Chidini, U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance disaster coordinator.
"Our reaction time was almost zero," said Chidini. "Because we have humanitarian aid pre-positioned at Camp Darby, this allowed us to react fast and get the pallets built this morning (Tuesday) and get it on the plane and on its way to those who need it a few hours later."
Aviation Mechanic 2nd Class Monica Fruge, a navy reservist and 14-year veteran with Flight Logistic Squadron 54 located out of Naval Air Support Belle Chase in New Orleans, Louisiana, said she had arrived yesterday afternoon in Sicily to do her two weeks drill with the reserves and learned immediately, not to unpack, but to get ready for the humanitarian aid mission to Georgia.
"I had helped out with delivering aid to Hurricane Katrina victims, so it feels great to be able to help out the people in Georgia," said Fruge. "One of the things I like most about being a crew member with the C-130 is that because our plane is so versatile, you never know what mission you'll get to go on next.
Her aircraft commander, Cmdr. Michael Casey, added he was really proud of his team and their ability to react swiftly.
"This mission is an outstanding one and my whole team is glad we are able to help out," said Casey. "It makes you feel privileged to be able to help out on a mission with such a far reaching impact."
The crew was able to deliver five pallets of personal hygiene kits consisting of toilet paper, toiletries and soap to the people of Georgia. Chidini added, over the last two days, 3/405th AFSB has helped send out over 26 thousand personal hygiene kits and 4,200 wool blankets.