The US military’s earthquake-relief efforts continued in Nepal on Tuesday as another powerful temblor struck the country and the Defense Department declared missing one of the Marine Corps UH-1 helicopters supporting the operation. The UH-1 was flying near Charikot, Nepal, when contact was lost, according to US defense officials. Six marines and two Nepalese military personnel were aboard; search efforts continued into Wednesday. Tuesday’s 7.3-magnitude earthquake followed the devastating 7.8-magnitude quake on April 25 that took the lives of some 8,000 persons and injured thousands more in the Asian nation. US Pacific Command’s Joint Task Force 505, which now includes some 300 personnel on the ground in Nepal, is overseeing the US military’s delivery of humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief supplies. US airmen worked with Nepalese personnel May 9-10 to repair the damaged runway at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, according to a Pacific Air Forces release. “This airfield is Nepal’s lifeline for relief supplies and for international travel, so these repairs will help the airfield keep pace with the aid coming in,” said Capt. Ryan White of the 36th Contingency Response Group from Andersen AFB, Guam.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.