Pacific Air Forces assets continue to support relief operations in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, but they will soon be winding down their activities, said PACAF Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle on Thursday at AFA’s Pacific Air & Space Symposium in Los Angeles. After the storm’s Nov. 8 landfall on the island nation, US Pacific Command activated its humanitarian-assistance plan, which is built around forward-based marines and Navy assets on Okinawa, Japan, said Carlisle. PACAF prepared its 36th Contingency Response Group at Andersen AFB, Guam, which includes communications assets, runway repair capabilities, and RED HORSE engineers. “The biggest challenge is working through request processes,” he said, as PACOM was following direction from the State Department and US Agency for International Development. PACAF officials helped the Philippine armed forces with air-tasking manifests, as well as airlift operations. Special operations U-28 aircraft were called in, C-130s returning from an exercise in Bangladesh were diverted to Clark Field near Manila, and other assets flowed in once PACAF received requests from USAID. Carlisle anticipated having the two C-17s supporting the relief operations returning to home station soon, as Philippine forces are taking over most of the follow-on operations. (See also AFSOC release on relief efforts)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.