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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | April 28, 2020

Turkey lands airbus loaded with COVID-19 medical supplies at JBA

By Staff Sgt. Cary Smith 11th Wing Public Affairs

A Turkish Airbus A400M Atlas carrying COVID-19 supplies arrived at Joint Base Andrews, Md., at approximately 5:30 p.m. on April 28, 2020.

The supplies arrived as the U.S. surpassed one million total coronavirus cases nationwide on Tuesday. The medical provisions aboard the aircraft included medical gloves, masks, protective goggles, hand sanitizer, and protective clothes.

Turkey, being a key NATO ally, sent one of its 10 airbuses to show both countries are committed to supporting the other in times of need. In attendance to greet the arrival were Turkish Ambassador and Defense Attaché to the United States, their embassy staff, and a State Department delegation.

“We greatly appreciate Turkey’s donations to the United States and its example of leadership within NATO on COVID-19 response—this is the best of allies helping allies,” said Michael C. Ryan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, United States Department of Defense. “Similar to Turkey’s support to Italy, Spain, UK, and the Balkans, Turkey’s donation to the United States employed NATO coordination mechanisms.”

JBA flightline protocol and members from the Turkish Embassy began coordination efforts approximately a week ago in advance.

“Our protocol office handles all foreign aircraft into the area, and we work closely with the embassy to assist in whatever they need,” said John Polhemus, deputy director of flightline protocol. “For this flight, we made sure everything was in place on our side and all appropriate delegates were escorted onto base.”

Polhemus and his team coordinated with many agencies to ensure everything ran smoothly. One of those agencies were the aerial port Airmen from the 89th Airlift Wing, who were responsible for unloading the cargo.

With the handoff of supplies, this delivery was an example of how international governments work together to respond to crises.

“Just as Turkey donates to the United States, the U.S. Department of Defense is also providing assistance to allies and partners where we can as we work to overcome this crisis together,” said Ryan.