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Andersen Airmen enhance relationships, airfield ops in Pacific

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 36th Contingency Response Group is postured to deploy all, or part of its 481-person team of more than 30 specialties with no more than 12 hours notice. This multidisciplinary, cross-functional force has recently taken on a new mission: furthering the capabilities of U.S. allies in the Pacific.

The 36 CRG is not just about air base opening, long-haul communications and heavy construction. In support of  the 13th Air Force, the 36 CRG participated in a series of partnership buliding, humanitarian assistance exercises called Operation Pacific Angel.

Pac Angel operations cultivate bonds and foster goodwill between the U.S. and Asia-Pacific countries through capacity-building in humanitarian assistance.

The CRG here recently returned from Pac Angel 11-3, Indonesia. While there, they supported the medical group performing the Humanitarian Assistance Rapid Response Team mission.

Continuing support of the United States Pacific Command's Pac Angel series, five members of the 36 CRG deployed to Sihanoukville, Cambodia to perform humanitarian assistance disaster relief related subject matter expert exchanges.

"We're here to show them our capabilities and give them the tools to further themselves ... we're also learning how they do business," said Master Sgt. James Bonk, 36th Mobility Response Squadron contingency response team lead. "By being able to integrate our abilities with theirs we're able to help each other out when needed."

Being able to integrate with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces enhances the U.S. military's ability to perform operations in an area of responsibility covering more than 100 million square miles and 50 percent of the world's population.

"It's crucial to have an airfield and to be able to sustain operations in order to get items to people like medical supplies and food when they need it," said Sergeant Bonk. "We're partners and we're aiming to improve interoperability."

An aerial demonstration by a North Carolina National Guard C-130H from the 145th Airlift Wing, followed by a walk through of the aircraft, provided the RCAF an opportunity to examine how the aircraft works along with receiving cargo, airdrops, managing the airfield and setting up an aerial port.

"We've learned a lot from our friends," said Col. Proeung Phath, with the Royal Cambodian Air Force. "We can benefit from these exchanges and experiences. It's great to work next to them and I'm happy they're here."

Exchanges that foster partnerships and relationships will enhance future operations for Cambodians and the U.S., participants said.

"I'm happy to be here establishing friendships and learning more about the way they do business," said Sergeant Bonk. "Everyone is very friendly and has been very welcoming, I'm glad to be able to share with them now and in the future."

Operation Pacific Angel Cambodia 11-1, is a combined partnership between U.S. and Cambodian military and civilian personnel providing medical, dental, optometry and engineer programs to local Cambodians including airfield operations subject-matter expert exchanges.

The operation is scheduled to conclude Aug. 12.

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