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36th CRG prepares to render aid to Burma

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chris Powell
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs



About 45 members of the 36th Contingency Response Group (CRG) took a seven-hour flight to Utapao Air Base, Thailand, to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Burma.

Published reports indicate more than 100,000 people were killed after a cyclone caused massive flooding in southern Burma May 3. Units throughout all branches of the U.S. military are being pre-positioned to respond to an official request from the Burma government to render aid.

The 36th CRG brought with them equipment needed to open, maintain and run an airfield, as well as set up and maintain communications with headquarters, and a water purification kit to provide potable water to the Burma people, according to Maj. Troy Roberts, mission commander for Air Force postured forces.

"Once we receive a humanitarian aid request, our team will work with U.S. government agencies in conjunction with the Burma government to get the relief supplies to those people in need," said Major Roberts.

At this early stage, Airmen just want to do their mission and make a difference in the lives of the affected people of Burma.

"This is a very important mission, and it feels good to be able to lend a hand when it's needed," said Tech. Sgt. Andre Curlee, 36th Mobility Response Squadron. "With our extensive humanitarian capabilities, we can make a difference in helping out countries like Burma."

"We have a lot of compassion for the folks we hope to help. You think about what this would be like if your family was in a disaster like this, and that just builds up the compassion you feel for the people you're trying to help," he said.

"The Airmen will fall back on the experience they gained in past deployments, like Cyclone Sitter in Bangladesh, although this one will be on a much bigger scale," Major Roberts added.

In addition to experience, the 36th CRG members will put into practice training they engage in on a continual basis.

"We train constantly. We don't have a mission in garrison other than training," Major Roberts said. "We have monthly exercises with all our squadrons and smaller exercises where we may practice bringing in a communications package to support a joint task force, such as the one that may be formed to support the relief efforts in Burma. I think this is the most capable CRG we have in the Air Force."

In the meantime, the Air Force remains postured to execute a hub and spoke type operation to help in the recovery efforts.

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