Youngstown | Air Force Reserves help refugees in Iraq

YOUNGSTOWN -- Normally, they are deployed in missions to help U.S. combat forces overseas.

But Youngstown's 910th Air Force Reserve Airlift Wing is busy delivering life-saving supplies to Yezidi refugees in Iraq.

The refugees have been fleeing ISIS terrorists ready to execute them unless they convert to the Muslim faith.

They have left their homes with only the clothing on their backs Some are in United Nations-run refugee camps, while others are scattered throughout the area near the Singar mountains.

The Youngstown unit is coordinating the U.S. humanitarian effort. Thus far, it has dropped more than 18,000 meals and 26,000 bottles of water.

Half of the unit's personnel are from Northeast Ohio.

Airman Timothy Kantorak is from North Olmsted. He calls it "...very rewarding to really help out people that need it."

Back in Youngstown, Acting Squadron Commander Lt Col,. Drew Tancer called the mission a "heartbreaking situation...it's what we train to do every day."

There is anti-aircraft fire and combat danger. But, thankfully, there have been no casualties on this mission.

Master Sgt., Justin Speight from Green said the unit is training Iraqi troops to make airdrops "so the Iraqis can help support their own people."

Former Congressman John Boccieri is playing a leadership role in the unit. The unit is expected home sometime next month.


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