Team Ramstein supports NATO with Patriot deployment to Turkey

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Members of the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 37th Airlift Squadron help load cargo onto a C-130J Super Hercules on the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Jan. 7, 2013. The 86th Airlift Wing provides support to the NATO led coalition that will augment Turkey's air defense capabilities and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the border.

Members of the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 37th Airlift Squadron help load cargo onto a C-130J Super Hercules on the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Jan. 7, 2013. The 86th Airlift Wing provides support to the NATO led coalition that will augment Turkey's air defense capabilities and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the border.

Members of the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 37th Airlift Squadron help load cargo onto a C-130J Super Hercules on the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Jan. 7, 2013. The 86th Airlift Wing provides support to the NATO led coalition that will augment Turkey's air defense capabilities and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the border.

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- A C-5 Galaxy from the 521st Air Mobility Wing, bound for Turkey, left here today with service members and supplies for the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in support of NATO's Patriot Missile Battery deployment.

The flight followed an earlier delivery of equipment by an 86th Airlift Wing C-130J Super Hercules on Jan. 7.

"The 10th AAMDC is sending a small contingency of personnel ... to provide command and control for Patriot batteries that are coming over from the continental United States to provide missile defense for our allies in Turkey," said Maj. Joel Johnson, 10th AAMDC operations officer.

With Syria entering its 22nd month of civil war, the U.S. began deploying Patriot missiles into Turkey in an effort to help defend the NATO ally from potential threats of the Syrian conflict.

In a recent statement from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Panetta affirmed U.S. commitment to Turkey.

"We've made very clear ... we're going to protect countries in this region," Panetta said last month. "We have to act ... to make sure that we defend ourselves and make sure that Turkey can defend itself."

The deployment of U.S. forces was approved after coordination between the Department of Defense and NATO.

"Supporting missions like this is something I've been doing my whole career and I love doing it; being able to be a part of helping an ally, it's a great honor," said Tech Sgt. Scott Blais, a flight engineer with the 337th Airlift Squadron, Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass. "This mission is important because we are supporting our allies in Europe and the U.S. government feels that this is important for us to do it."

Ramstein Air Base's support is pivotal in delivering combat and humanitarian airlift throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.

"As the gateway to Eurasia, Africa, and the Middle East, we enable the deployment of strategic capabilities, said Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde, 86th AW wing commander. "We are committed to the success of our joint force and allies and are always ready to partner with them to achieve our common security objectives."

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U.S. Airmen with the 728th Air Mobility Squadron secure Patriot missiles to a K-loader Jan. 6, 2013, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Approximately 400 Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment at Fort Sill, Okla., deployed with the missiles to an undisclosed location near the Turkish-Syrian border to augment Turkish air defenses. U.S. and NATO Patriot missile batteries and personnel deployed to Turkey in support of NATO's commitment to defending Turkey's security during a period of regional instability.

Patriots to Turkey

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

A US Airman waits to offload the final pallets from the cargo aircraft which arrived in Russia from Sigonella delivering firefighting equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Keith Houin provided in real time via smartphone/RELEASED)

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