The 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein AB, Germany, has launched its first mission to Africa to provide supplies to help arrest the Ebola epidemic. A C-130J Super Hercules flew out of Ramstein on Oct. 7 to deliver the supplies to Liberia, an epicenter of the Ebola outbreak. That was the first in what is expected to be a continuing effort by the squadron and the 86th Airlift Wing to support Operation United Assistance. “We are super excited to get down there and help as much as we can,” said Capt. Brian Shea, a 37th AS aircraft commander, before the flight. “The 37th AS is a key component in AFRICOM’s mission to establish an air bridge for the operation.” Although the aircrew would spend only a few hours on the ground in Liberia, Shea said he was confident he and his crew have been well prepared to avoid any medical problems. The US military primarily is providing logistical and infrastructure support to the international fight against Ebola. Army Gen. David Rodriguez, US Africa Command boss, said the US effort was expected to cost about $750 million for the first six months. (Ramstein release) (Rodriguez transcript) (See also Airmen, Soldiers Deploy for Ebola Relief Mission.)
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.