By Sgt. Monica K. Smith, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd ID Public AffairsAugust 12, 2010
GHAZI, Pakistan (Aug. 12, 2010) -- After three days of rain, the clouds parted, allowing U.S. and Pakistani forces to resume flood relief efforts Aug. 9 in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. Helicopters from Task Force Raptor, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Falcon, launched from Ghazi Air Base to deliver food to hungry victims and transport them to safer and dryer ground.
"We've been pushing and pushing to get to fly, so it's incredible that we finally get to go," said Spc. Kelly Steckler, a Black Hawk crew chief with Company A, TF Raptor, 3rd CAB, TF Falcon. "Since the new rains have come, I feel like there is more peril, more people are being affected every day, so there is more urgency. I'm glad we finally get to get out."
The two Black Hawk and four Chinooks of TF Raptor had been postured to launch since weather prevented them from conducting relief missions. Working with the Pakistan military, the aircraft left Ghazi Air Base with more than 50,000 pounds of food. Extra food was able to fly out of the air base due to the arrival of Col. Don Galli, the commander of the 3rd CAB, TF Falcon, who flew in to assess the operations of TF Raptor. With him came an additional Chinook and Black Hawk, which were used during his stay for additional relief assistance.
"It's an honor to be here to help the people of Pakistan," said Galli. "After so many days of rain, our aviators are anxious to do some good work here."
"The Pakistan military has been such gracious hosts, we feel like it's time for us to earn our keeps," said Maj. Dan Rice, the officer in charge of TF Raptor. "Let's hope the weather continues to be suitable. We are anxious to get out there and help."