A RAF C130 Hercules has handed over the baton for ongoing inter-island aid transport to the Philippines Air Force (PAF).
Royal Air Force and Philippines Air Force colleagues in front of the RAF C130 Hercules call sign “Pag-asa 47”
The C130 Hercules from RAF Brize Norton has been in the Philippines for 10 days and has transported over 230 tons of humanitarian aid to the islands decimated by Typhoon Haiyan.
Major Jerome Erwin Santiago (PAF) coordinating the air operations at Cebu Military Airfield said
“It has been really good to work with the UK C130 Hercules team. They have given us their full support. We will be very sad to see them go.”
The crew concluded their part in the relief operation with a 2 phase flight. Firstly, the team delivered tentage and family welfare boxes to Roxas airfield on Panay Island. They were struck by the progress that has been made in the short time since their arrival.
“As we flew into Roxas for the first time there was nothing but devastation and flooding. But when we flew in over the next few days we could see the tents that we’d delivered being used. That’s the most rewarding thing about being here.” said Flight Sergeant Stuart Wright, Hercules Air Loadmaster.
The Hercules then flew on from Roxas to Manila, where they delivered the main rotor head from a Filipino search and rescue helicopter to be repaired. The assistance rendered to the Philippines Air Force was critical, as every working helicopter means more relief aid for those affected by the typhoon on Panay Island.
The military C130 Hercules was sent to assist the UN and national Philippines authorities in the initial phases of the crisis response. However, civilian capabilities are better equipped to deal with the longer term recovery and regeneration efforts and will be used by the Department for International Development (DFID) as required.
The C130 Hercules Detachment Commander, Squadron Leader Calvin Bailey, reflected positively on the departure of his aircraft: “”Today we flew our last aid mission into Roxas and indeed in support of the Filipino relief effort. We always got a good reception on the ground and all of us savoured the last few moments as we were mobbed by the Filipino helpers who were all after a last photograph. The British aid effort will continue when we leave, but as we depart the sea of white and blue domed tents is a visible manifestation of the relief the RAF Hercules team has provided and is very rewarding.”
Praising the RAF personnel that supported the C130 detachment Squadron Leader Bailey added: „I’m immensely proud of my team and our contribution to the multinational relief effort. Being able to so directly make a difference to peoples lives is unique in both experience and gratification. We will all remember our time in the Philippines for the rest of our lives.”
Source / Author: RAF
Photo: RAF / Royal Air Force and Philippines Air Force colleagues in front of the RAF C130 Hercules call sign “Pag-asa 47”
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013