US Airlifts Rwandans to Central African Republic

Rwandan soldiers stand in formation awaiting orders after being dropped off in the Central African Republic Jan. 19, 2014. U.S. forces will transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants during this three week-long operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane) US Airlifts Rwandans to Central African Republic Rwandan soldiers stand in formation awaiting orders after being dropped off in the Central African Republic Jan. 19, 2014. U.S. forces will transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants during this three week-long operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane)
Rwandan soldiers wait in line at the Kigali airport to have their weapons inspected by Staff Sgt. Curtis McWoodson, 627th Security Forces Squadron Phoenix Raven, before getting on a C-17 Globemaster III based out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash., Jan. 19, 2014. U.S. forces will transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants during this three weeklong operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane) US Airlifts Rwandans to Central African Republic Rwandan soldiers wait in line at the Kigali airport to have their weapons inspected by Staff Sgt. Curtis McWoodson, 627th Security Forces Squadron Phoenix Raven, before getting on a C-17 Globemaster III based out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash., Jan. 19, 2014. U.S. forces will transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants during this three weeklong operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane)
Rwandan soldiers wait in line at the Kigali airport to get on a C-17 Globemaster III based out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash., Jan. 19, 2014. U.S. forces will transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants during this three weeklong operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane) US Airlifts Rwandans to Central African Republic Rwandan soldiers wait in line at the Kigali airport to get on a C-17 Globemaster III based out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash., Jan. 19, 2014. U.S. forces will transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants during this three weeklong operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane)
Rwandan soldiers and their equipment are flown from Rwanda to the Central Africa Republic on a C-17 Globemaster III based out of McChord Air Force Base, Wa. Jan. 19, 2014. U.S. forces will transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants during this three week-long operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane) US Airlifts Rwandans to Central African Republic Rwandan soldiers and their equipment are flown from Rwanda to the Central Africa Republic on a C-17 Globemaster III based out of McChord Air Force Base, Wa. Jan. 19, 2014. U.S. forces will transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants during this three week-long operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane)
U.S. forces helped transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants. US Airlifts Rwandans to Central African Republic U.S. forces helped transport a total number of 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment into the Central African Republic to aid French and African Union operations against militants.

Two U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft operating at the request of the French government and African Union authorities continued airlifting a Rwandan mechanized battalion Jan. 19.

The joint operation with personnel from the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force is in support of an African Union effort to confront destabilizing forces and violence within Central African Republic.

"The African Union has decided to stand up a mission in the Central African Republic to decrease the violence that has been occurring over the last several months," Lt. Col. Allen Pepper, senior officer in Central African Republic, U.S. Army Africa said. "A part of that is getting enough troops on the ground to execute that mission."

Each airlift mission stages out of Entebbe, Uganda and consists of transporting soldiers and equipment from Kigali, Rwanda to Bangui, Central Africa Republic.

Maj. Micah Vander Veen Contingency Response Element Commander, and overall mission commander for the Entebbe stage said, "Our goal is to provide logistical and airlift support to the Rwandan military in order to support their overall mission."

In Kigali, forces from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, 435th Contingency Response Group, U.S. Army Africa and Rwandan mechanized battalion work together to prepare equipment to be loaded onto the C-17 aircraft. Personnel build pallets containing security equipment, clear weapons and create load plans.

"What the Rwandans are doing in Central Africa is very important, they are preventing mass atrocities and helping to stabilize the Central African Republic," said Lt. Col. David Hernandez, Mission Coordination Cell Rwanda officer in charge. "For this reason, the support we are providing to them is important."

The joint U.S. military contingent is expected to transport about 850 Rwandan soldiers and more than 1,000 tons of equipment in total over the next few weeks.

This is the second such operation in support of the African Union's efforts to stabilize Central African Republic. The first occurred late last year when the U.S. Air Force transported Burundi soldiers.

Although the situation is stabilizing in Bangui, additional forces are needed to reinforce the progress being made.

"The most rewarding part of this mission is seeing the quality troops that come off these planes" Pepper said. "They come off [the aircraft] and are ready and eager to go and do their mission. Without these kinds of folks on the ground, this mission could never be completed."

Tags

Related

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy visits Stuttgart (article)

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Mike Stevens, visited with sailors during an all hands call at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany, August 20, 2014.

Soldiers Teaching Soldiers; Helping to Save Lives (article)

Soldiers from the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team taught Soldiers from the 2/16th Infantry Battalion crucial skills during a field sanitation course during the month of August, here.

AFRICOM Update, Episode 20 (video)

This is the AFRICOM Update for the week of 18-22 August, 2014.

Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle; Deployed Military Members take Pride in Heritage (article)

More than 2.3 million Boy Scouts have earned the rank of Eagle Scout and of those, several are deployed to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

East and West Africa Malaria Task Force conference underway in Burundi (article)

More than 60 senior medical representatives from countries in East and West Africa gathered in Bujumbura Aug. 25 for the opening ceremony of the East and West Africa Malaria Task Force conference in Burundi.