Air Force Combat Support Group lends a hand in Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST
27 November 2013
Combat Support Group is playing a pivotal role in the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance to the broader ADF effort in the wake of the recent typhoon which devastated parts the south-east Asian nation.
Demonstrating its flexibility, Combat Support Groupdeployed 60 personnel between 13 and 22 November to Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST to perform essential Air Load Team, Aircraft Security, Communications, General Engineering, Command and Control and Medical tasks at Tacloban, Guiuan, Ormoc and Mactan to enable C-130s to provide essential airlift capability.
Arriving on the ground the first Combat Support Group teams were confronted with the horrendous conditions brought about by the up-to-312km/h destructive winds.
Commander Combat Support Group, Air Commander Tim Innes congratulated Combat Support Group personnel on their efforts and professionalism in a challenging environment.
"Combat Support Group is undertaking the most significant and extensive reorganisation in its 14-year history to improve the delivery of Airbase operations, while continuing to maintain capability and respond to Air Force Combat Support needs," he said.
“Maintaining Combat Support Group airbase and expeditionary operations capability was always an essential component of the Combat Support Group reorganisation. It has been tested on a daily basis domestically however, Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST presented an additional real-time Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief challenge.
“I am pleased at the manner in which Combat Support Group has responded to this catastrophic event, while it is still early days for everybody involved, Combat Support Group will continue to respond as the situation evolves."
The C-130Js are flying up to four missions a day to airlift vital relief aid to areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Each time the C-130J delivers a payload the load has been prepared and loaded by the Combat Support Group Acquisition Logistics and Technology and dispatched with an Aircraft Security Team from Combat Support Group to ensure protection in flight and security on the ground.
Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Edwards at the Combat Support Coordination Centre has played a vital role in coordinating the Combat Support Group effort for Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST and said the ground conditions are extremely busy, hot and humid.
“Combat Support Group personnel are operating out of Mactan (Cebu International Airport) and supporting Spokes into Tacloban and Guiuan and now a small Forward Operating Base at Ormoc,” Flight Lieutenant Edwards said.
“After the initial surge the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief effort has reached a steady state and Philippines’ authorities capacity to continue assisting the affected people independently, is increasing.”