US, Poland train for humanitarian missions to Iraq

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, center, discusses the finer points of C-130 mass container delivery airdrop operations with Polish Air Force Service members at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. The bilateral training was held in preparation for Polish forces to conduct equipment and supply delivery missions tor Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, center, discusses the finer points of C-130 mass container delivery airdrop operations with Polish Air Force Service members at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. The bilateral training was held in preparation for Polish forces to conduct equipment and supply delivery missions tor Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, climbs a ladder to demonstrate proper cargo and airdrop loading operations on a Polish Air Force C-130E Hercules at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. Loadmasters from The U.S. and Polish Air Force came together to share operational procedures and improve best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, climbs a ladder to demonstrate proper cargo and airdrop loading operations on a Polish Air Force C-130E Hercules at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. Loadmasters from The U.S. and Polish Air Force came together to share operational procedures and improve best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, center, reviews C-130E Hercules technical manuals with Polish Air Force C-130 loadmasters at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. Polish and American Service members came together to discuss operational tactics surrounding mass container delivery airdrop operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, center, reviews C-130E Hercules technical manuals with Polish Air Force C-130 loadmasters at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. Polish and American Service members came together to discuss operational tactics surrounding mass container delivery airdrop operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

A Polish Air Force C-130E Hercules loadmaster hands U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christ Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, a tool during a joint mass container delivery airdrop training at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. During the training, Polish and American forces shared best practices in preparation for Poland to deliver equipment and supplies to Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

A Polish Air Force C-130E Hercules loadmaster hands U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christ Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, a tool during a joint mass container delivery airdrop training at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. During the training, Polish and American forces shared best practices in preparation for Poland to deliver equipment and supplies to Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Chris Rolph, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, left, reviews the cargo capabilities of the C-130J Super Hercules during a bilateral training with Polish Air Force loadmasters at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. The joint training allowed Polish Air Force Service members to hone their skills in preparation for humanitarian missions to Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Chris Rolph, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, left, reviews the cargo capabilities of the C-130J Super Hercules during a bilateral training with Polish Air Force loadmasters at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. The joint training allowed Polish Air Force Service members to hone their skills in preparation for humanitarian missions to Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. and Polish Air Force loadmasters discuss mass container delivery airdrop operations aboard a C-130J Super Hercules at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. Airmen from both nations discussed operational similarities and best practices in preparation for Poland to conduct an equipment and supply mission to Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

U.S. and Polish Air Force loadmasters discuss mass container delivery airdrop operations aboard a C-130J Super Hercules at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. Airmen from both nations discussed operational similarities and best practices in preparation for Poland to conduct an equipment and supply mission to Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

Polish Air Force Sierż (Sgt.) Zbigniew Krajniak, 33rd Transportation Air Base loadmaster, discusses mass container delivery airdrop operations with U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. The discussion served as refresher training for Polish forces preparing to deliver equipment and supplies to Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

Polish Air Force Sierż (Sgt.) Zbigniew Krajniak, 33rd Transportation Air Base loadmaster, discusses mass container delivery airdrop operations with U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Minnifield, 37th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, at Powidz Air Base, Poland, Aug. 11, 2014. The discussion served as refresher training for Polish forces preparing to deliver equipment and supplies to Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton/Released)

POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland -- Partnering with U.S. Air Force Airmen deployed to Powidz Air Base, Poland, loadmasters from both nations began training together, Aug. 11, to sharpen the skills necessary for Polish airmen to conduct humanitarian missions to Iraq.

"We want to be on the same page," said Polish Sierż (Sgt.) Hieronim Chabras, 33rd Transportation Air Base C-130E loadmaster. "It is good to go over this training together before a mission like this."

The joint training was especially beneficial to the Airmen deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. To date, U.S. military aircraft have delivered more than 27,000 gallons of fresh drinking water and nearly 100,000 meals to the displaced and endangered Iraqi people. The C-130's, flown by both Polish and American forces, are uniquely suited to handle the mass container delivery airdrops meant to alleviate the suffering in Iraq.

"Mass container delivery airdrops are one of the most effective ways to deliver combat and non-combat supplies and equipment," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Chelsea Sirmans, 86th Operational Support Squadron joint airdrop inspector. "It's how we get the bullets, beans and bandages to the people who need them most, as quickly as possible."

The loadmasters came together to ensure both parties were as proficient as possible on their particular model of C-130. The Polish Air Force spent time brushing up on the technical specifications of the C-130E Hercules; while the U.S. Air Force compared and contrasted the operational procedures of the E-model with the C-130J Super Hercules.

"We just helped each other clarify a few things we already knew," said Sirmans. "In a situation like the one the Polish will be flying into, you want to be 100 percent proficient and supremely confident in your aircraft and your skills."

With the situation in Iraq growing more intense, the decision to act is not only welcome, it is essential - according to Christof Heyns, U.S. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, a position mandated by the U.N. Human Rights Council.

"We cannot stand by in the face of such atrocities," Heyns said in an interview. "International actors must do all in their power to support those on the ground with the capacity to protect lives."