Pacific Air Forces’ new humanitarian assistance rapid response team arrived by C-17 in Padang, Indonesia, Oct. 5 to provide medical treatment to local residents after a devastating earthquake struck Indonesia Sept. 30. The 69-member HAART brought about 200,000 pounds of medical supplies and contingency-response equipment with them. Already on Oct. 7, Air Force medics were treating patients in the mobile field hospital that the team erected, helping more than 70 people in just the first eight hours. The HAART’s presence is alleviating the burden on the local hospitals, three of four of which were severely damaged in the earthquake. HAART is a new construct for PACAF. In September, the team was deployed for five days to Micronesian island state of Chuuk for a five-day validation exercise. (Padang report by SSgt. Veronica Pierce)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.