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U.S. Air Force launches missions to support Chile relief

More than 80 Airmen from 13 different bases deployed March 8, 2010, to Chile from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to aid local medics in their response to victims of the Feb. 27, 2010, 8.8 magnitude earthquake. The Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support team will operate in the city of Angol, Chile, and be capable of providing medical care to earthquake victims. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

More than 80 Airmen from 13 different bases deployed March 8, 2010, to Chile from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to aid local medics in their response to victims of the Feb. 27, 2010, 8.8 magnitude earthquake. The Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support team will operate in the city of Angol, Chile, and be capable of providing medical care to earthquake victims. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young reads over her processing paperwork in preparation of her deployment to Chile March 8, 2010, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Sergeant Young, a public affairs specialist, is deploying in support of an Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support team composed of more than 80 Airmen who deployed to Chile March 8 to aid local medics in response to victims of the Feb. 27, 2010, 8.8 magnitude earthquake there. Sergeant Young is a member of the Defense Media Activity-San Antonio, (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young reads over her processing paperwork in preparation of her deployment to Chile March 8, 2010, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Sergeant Young, a public affairs specialist, is deploying in support of an Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support team composed of more than 80 Airmen who deployed to Chile March 8 to aid local medics in response to victims of the Feb. 27, 2010, 8.8 magnitude earthquake there. Sergeant Young is a member of the Defense Media Activity-San Antonio, (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

More than 80 Airmen from 13 different bases deployed March 8, 2010, to Chile from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to aid local medics in their response to victims of the Feb. 27 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile. The Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support team will operate in the city of Angol, Chile, and be capable of providing medical care to earthquake victims. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

More than 80 Airmen from 13 different bases deployed March 8, 2010, to Chile from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to aid local medics in their response to victims of the Feb. 27 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile. The Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support team will operate in the city of Angol, Chile, and be capable of providing medical care to earthquake victims. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Air Mobility Command C-17 Globemaster IIIs are supporting relief operations in Chile following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the South American nation Feb. 27, according to AMC officials.

In an announcement hours after the quake, U.S. President Barack Obama offered condolences to the Chilean people and pledged support from the United States to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts.

AMC immediately placed several of its C-17s on alert to support the relief operations and launched missions Monday bound for the quake-stricken nation, according to officials.

The first two AMC missions are being flown by crews from 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., and a third is being flown by Airmen from the 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

Mission planning and command-and-control for the AMC portion of the humanitarian effort are being led by the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott AFB, Ill. As 18th Air Force's hub for global operations, the 618th TACC plans, schedules and directs a fleet of nearly 1,300 mobility aircraft in support of strategic airlift, air refueling, and aeromedical evacuation operations around the world.

"The aircraft are scheduled to carry approximately 80 medical personnel and 67 tons of medical equipment from Kelly Field, Texas, to Chile," said Master Sgt. Dan Phillips, the lead 618th TACC mission planner for the Chile relief efforts. "They're also carrying another 25 tons of material handling equipment, such as forklifts, that will help unload the aircraft once they arrive."

The response in Chile comes while AMC forces are still actively engaged in recovery efforts in Haiti, following the 7.0-magnitude quake that devastated the nation in mid-January.

"Our day-to-day role at the 618th TACC is to support the needs of U.S. and coalition troops around the world, but we can quickly shift to meet the needs of a humanitarian operation when global disasters strike," said Maj. Gen. Mark Solo, the 618th TACC commander. "That was the case when we kicked-off operations in Haiti and we will meet the requirements we're given to fly missions into Chile with the same dedication -- all while continuing to fly missions in support of other U.S. operations worldwide, including Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom."

In addition to the AMC C-17 missions, 12th Air Force and the 612th Air and Space Operations Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., have launched multiple C-130 Hercules missions carrying relief personnel and cargo into Chile.

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