621 CRW Airmen arrive in Liberia to support JTF-PO, Ebola outbreak humanitarian operations

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - Tech. Sgt. Arthur Dennis, 621st Contingency Response Wing security forces member, carries a surveillance camera to be installed during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, Oct 13, 2014. The cameras will help secure the airfield and DoD assets during OUA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - Tech. Sgt. Arthur Dennis, 621st Contingency Response Wing security forces member, carries a surveillance camera to be installed during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, Oct 13, 2014. The cameras will help secure the airfield and DoD assets during OUA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia  - Staff Sgt. Robert Higginbotham, 621 Contingency Response Wing aerial port supervisor, supervises the loading of cargo onto a locally contracted truck during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, Oct 13, 2014. The CRW specializes in rapidly deploying Airmen who specialize in moving cargo and passengers anywhere in the world. OUA focuses on four lines of effort: command and control, logistics support, training and engineering support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - Staff Sgt. Robert Higginbotham, 621 Contingency Response Wing aerial port supervisor, supervises the loading of cargo onto a locally contracted truck during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, Oct 13, 2014. The CRW specializes in rapidly deploying Airmen who specialize in moving cargo and passengers anywhere in the world. OUA focuses on four lines of effort: command and control, logistics support, training and engineering support. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - U.S. Army Soldiers of the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., and part of the Joint Task Force-Port Opening team, discuss the day's events during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, October 15, 2014. The 688 RPOE is working in support of the USAID-led interagency team and the international community to provide effective and efficient delivery of assistance to the Government of Liberia to end the EVD outbreak. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - U.S. Army Soldiers of the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., and part of the Joint Task Force-Port Opening team, discuss the day's events during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, October 15, 2014. The 688 RPOE is working in support of the USAID-led interagency team and the international community to provide effective and efficient delivery of assistance to the Government of Liberia to end the EVD outbreak. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - U.S. Army Soldiers part of the Joint Task Force-Port Opening team of the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., load supplies onto a truck during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, October 15, 2014. The US government is increasing its assistance to help affected countries deal with the most devastating Ebola outbreak in history. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - U.S. Army Soldiers part of the Joint Task Force-Port Opening team of the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., load supplies onto a truck during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, October 15, 2014. The US government is increasing its assistance to help affected countries deal with the most devastating Ebola outbreak in history. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - U.S. Air Force Airmen part of the Joint Task Force-Port Opening team of the 621st Contingency Response Wing assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., finish unloading medical supplies during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, October 16, 2014. The JTF-PO is supporting a comprehensive U.S. government effort led by the U.S Agency for International Development, to support the World Health Organization and other international partners to help the Governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone respond to and contain the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - U.S. Air Force Airmen part of the Joint Task Force-Port Opening team of the 621st Contingency Response Wing assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., finish unloading medical supplies during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, October 16, 2014. The JTF-PO is supporting a comprehensive U.S. government effort led by the U.S Agency for International Development, to support the World Health Organization and other international partners to help the Governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone respond to and contain the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - U.S. Army SPC Michael Gil, 688th Rapid Port Opening Element cargo specialist assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., 621st Contingency Response Wing U.S. Air Force aerial porter Staff Sgt. James Cain, and Staff Sgt. Josh Zanek, electrical power production craftsman, both stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., prepare a forklift to be refueled during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, October 17, 2014. The Airmen and Soldier are a part of the Joint Task Force Port-Opening team that consists of approximately 79 members of the CRW and 10 Soldiers from the RPOE. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia - U.S. Army SPC Michael Gil, 688th Rapid Port Opening Element cargo specialist assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., 621st Contingency Response Wing U.S. Air Force aerial porter Staff Sgt. James Cain, and Staff Sgt. Josh Zanek, electrical power production craftsman, both stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., prepare a forklift to be refueled during Operation UNITED ASSISTANCE here, October 17, 2014. The Airmen and Soldier are a part of the Joint Task Force Port-Opening team that consists of approximately 79 members of the CRW and 10 Soldiers from the RPOE. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez/RELEASED)

ROBERTS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Republic of Liberia -- Approximately 22 additional U.S. Air Force members arrived here Oct. 13, as part of the Joint Task Force-Port Opening team in support of Operation UNITIED ASSISTANCE, a comprehensive U.S. effort to work with the World Health Organization and other international partners to help the Governments of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone respond and contain the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa as quickly as possible.

The JTF-PO consists of approximately 79 members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and approximately 10 Soldiers from the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Their mission is to provide medical and humanitarian relief to host nation residents in response to the Ebola virus outbreak.

"This is an awesome opportunity being at the epicenter of a crisis the entire world is watching," said Col. Brad Johnson, JTF-PO commander. "We train for complex environments, and this is definitely one of those."

The JTF-PO's involvement with OUA began Sept. 15, when the 621 CRW's initial advance team consisting of a logistics readiness officer, and three aerial porters landed here to receive initial aircraft. By Sept. 20, four U.S. Army 688 RPOE Soldiers and 12 U.S. Air Force 621 CRW Airmen arrived as a JTF-PO joint assessment team, made up of air and surface mobility specialists, to assess operations and evaluate the airfield infrastructure for the ability to receive and distribute cargo.

"We're in the business of expanding an airfield's capacity to move cargo and passengers," Johnson said. "By doing so, we provide hope. That's why we are all here."

The JTF-PO specializes in rapidly establishing hubs for cargo distribution operations worldwide, to include remote or damaged locations, on short notice.
"This is only the second time we've launched the JTF-PO," Johnson said. "The first time was Haiti."

To date, the JTF-PO has distributed approximately 170,000lbs of cargo, and humanitarian supplies to local contractors to be delivered in support of OUA.

"Those pallets enable construction of Ebola treatment units, delivered mobile laboratories for rapid diagnosis of potentially affected people, and brought in U.S. Navy Seabees, and medical personnel who built the expeditionary medical support site that will be turned over to the Government of Liberia to train healthcare workers."