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From Receiving Aid to Giving and Extending Aid ... Air Force

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The aid mission of two Republic of Korean military jets on Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, which was devastated by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami on September 28th, will be extended to October 26th.

The Air Force announced on October 17th that it has decided at the request of Indonesian authorities to extend the mission of the two military jets deployed to Indonesia on October 8th, which was supposed to end today, to October 26th.

The Air Force deployed two C-130J cargo planes carrying about 30 personnel, including pilots, maintenance crew, and loaders, to Indonesia in cooperation with Korea International Cooperation Agency(KOICA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Their mission started with delivering 130 sets of tents and other relief materials to the airport in Balikpapan, which is 9288away from Seoul Airport.

The Balikpapan airport, where the Republic of Korean Air Force's onsite command post was installed, is 338from Palu airport near Sulawesi, which was devastated by the earthquake. Republic of Korean soldiers are carrying relief materials, including clean water, tents, medical kits, and power generators, at least twice a day.

Soldiers are also supporting the transport of the quake victims when needed. As of October 16th, they had traveled about 12,370and carried about 90 tons of relief materials. Brigadier General Eko Dono, head of the Balikpapan disaster relief headquarters said, “I sincerely thank the Republic of Korean people and their air force for the prompt support they have offered to the Indonesian people, who are in great despair due to the considerable casualties and property damage.”

Colonel Jeong Yeon-hak, director of the emergency airlift mission, said, "Even though local circumstances are poor, we are doing our best to warm the hearts of the Indonesian people, who have been suffering so much in the aftermath of the earthquake." He went on to stress that the air force will accomplish its mission without any safety accidents by working in close cooperation with other countries, such as the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, which are currently operating military cargo planes in Indonesia.

“This mission is progressing successfully thanks to the senior pilots' airlift mission experience in overseas countries and usual hands-on training exercises. I feel proud to be part of a country that has gone from receiving so much international aid and can now help the world,” said Major Kim Min-ji, a cargo plane pilot.

By Byeong-No, Yun < >

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