Air Commandos Were First In

The first USAF aircraft to provide aid to Indonesia after Padang suffered a 7.0 magnitude earthquake was an MC-130P Combat Shadow loaded with more than six tons of relief supplies and 25 international aid workers. (Pacific Air Forces provided a relief team.) The 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena, Japan, on Oct. 2 provided the MC-130P, which had been participating in an exercise in Indonesia at the time. The 353rd air commandos were training with Indonesia special tactics forces on flight safety, flight operations, combat control, medical support, and communications support when they got the call to support a humanitarian flight. Maj. John Traxler with the 353rd SOG, said, “The earthquake presented the perfect opportunity to transition the training and partnerships to an operational setting that would achieve tangible results and contribute significantly to the US-Indonesian relationship we were there to develop.” (Report from Indonesia by USAF SSgt. Veronica Pierce)