Navy plays part in humanitarian air drop
22 August 2014
Two Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Officers have played a key role in life-saving air drops to stranded civilians in northern Iraq.
In what should have been a week to complete his handover at Joint Task Force 633, Maritime Logistics Officer Lieutenant Warren Bowring, RAN, along with Lieutenant Commander Russell Toohey, RAN found they were coordinating the supply of humanitarian aid stores for an air drop on 14 August 2014.
The end result was the completion of the most complex operational humanitarian air drop mission in more than a decade to save the lives of a group of civilians, most from the Yazidi minority, displaced on Mount Sinjar by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants.
Lieutenant Bowring said he had been proud to participate as part of the wider Joint Task Force 633 (JTF 633) to assist people in need.
“Our logistics cell was responsible for the procurement, delivery and ongoing coordination to ensure we could supply the humanitarian aid stores for the people on the ground,” he said.
“In the end it doesn’t sound like much, but we dropped 10 bundles of aid weighing close to nine tonnes that contained food and water to sustain people and allow them time to escape what is going on.
“It was something I am proud to be a part of considering we also completed these tasks while continuing to support our personnel in Afghanistan and the broader Middle East Region.”
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules completed an eight-hour mission over the night of 13-14 August 2014 to deliver the critical supplies.
The cargo included 150 boxes of high energy biscuits and 340 boxes of bottled water – enough to sustain 3,700 people for 24 hours.
The operational air drop was the first mass air delivery of humanitarian cargo since the outbreak of violence in East Timor in 1999.
The Australian Hercules was one of a 16-aircraft package including USAF C-17s and C-130Hs and a British C-130J to respond to the humanitarian disaster.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin inspected the loaded aircraft and also the work of 176ADSQN personnel hours before the mission during a whistle-stop tour of the base.