C-17 Humanitarian Missions

March, 2011

Crew aboard the Argos Georgia, a British trawler adrift in pack ice, aided by a C-17 in early 2008. (Neg#: humanitarian)

C-17s from the U.S. Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force responded to Honshu island, Japan, to support search and rescue efforts following an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that killed more than 10,000 people and left tens of thousands of residents homeless. The C-17s delivered search and rescue teams and generators.

February, 2011

Due to ongoing political unrest in Libya, a Canadian Forces C-17 ferried a load of evacuees from Tripoli to Malta.

February, 2011

A C-17 from the Royal Australian Air Force transported Search and Rescue teams to Christchurch, New Zealand, which was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 21, 2011. The quake killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds of others.

February, 2011

Humanitarian Aid to Queensland. Australia Royal Australian Air Force C-17s supported the evacuation of residents and hospital patients in Queensland in advance of Cyclone Yasi. They also ferried food and household supplies on behalf of supermarkets to flood-stricken areas in Queensland.

Aug/Sept, 2010 -- Disaster relief to Pakistan

C-17s from the U.S. Air Force and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability consortium of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations based in Pápa Air Base, Hungary, delivered relief supplies to Pakistani flood victims.

August, 2010 -- Humanitarian relief to Pakistan

C-17s from the U.S., U.K., Australia and Qatar supported humanitarian relief efforts in flood-ravaged Pakistan, where record-setting monsoons killed more than 1,600 people and left 2 million homeless. U.S. Air Force C-17s and C-130s delivered more than 10 million pounds of aid. At Pakistan's request, the U.S. military ended its flood relief support on Oct. 3.

March, 2010 -- Aid to Chile

Royal Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force C-17s delivered humanitarian aid to Chile following an 8.8 magnitude earthquake on February 27, 2010, that killed more than 800 people, toppled buildings, and left thousands homeless. A U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Medical Support (EMEDS) team from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas flew to Santiago, Chile, aboard three C-17s, to help treat those injured by the earthquake.

Jan/Feb, 2010 -- Disaster relief to Haiti

U.S. Air Force C-17s delivered 10,005 tons of disaster relief supplies, carried 13,812 passengers, and flew more than 1,800 sorties to Haiti after the country was ravaged by a major earthquake on January 12 that killed more than 200,000 people. C-17s from Canada, Qatar, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability consortium of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations also delivered humanitarian aid to Haiti.

October, 2009 -- Providing relief to American Samoa

C-17s with the Hawaii Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force completed a ten-day mission during which they ferried humanitarian and disaster relief to victims of the tsunami and earthquake that struck American Samoa on September 29.

October, 2009 -- Humanitarian missions to Indonesia

C-17s from McChord AFB, Wash., completed a humanitarian airlift mission to earthquake-stricken Padang, Indonesia, where nearly 800 people were killed, giving them a total of three humanitarian missions in the week following the September 30 quake.

The C-17 has participated in numerous worldwide operations since 1990. Today the C-17 supports U.S. troops fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq and those responding to humanitarian disasters globally. The C-17 flew missions to Pakistan following its devastating earthquake, assisted Thailand after the tsunami, evacuated Americans from Lebanon on the eve of war, brought supplies to thousands impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and aided victims in storm-ravaged Burma.

C-17 Disaster and Humanitarian Relief

  • Immediate response
  • Delivers 100 bed fully equipped field hospital, personnel and supplies
  • Completely self-sufficient
  • Makes sites with limited access accessible

May 2008, Bringing relief to Myanmar following cyclone

Several USAF C-17s transported water and food to supply zones in Thailand

April 2008, Delivering water well drilling equipment to Kenya

USAF C-17 Globemaster III transport jet brought more than 100,000 pounds of well-drilling equipment and nearly a dozen Navy Seabees to Nairobi's airport during a two-day delivery mission.

February 2008, Helping the Chinese weather extreme winter storms

Two C-17s based at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska and Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, brought more than 225,000 pounds of food, medicine, and cold weather supplies to Shanghai as the country faced the worst winter in 50 years.

January 2008, Rescuing an Icebound British Trawler Near Antarctica

A USAF C-17 based at McChord Air Force Base, Washington, dropped replacement engine parts to a British fishing boat adrift in pack ice fishing trawler adrift in pack ice due to a broken piston.

Other humanitarian missions include:

  • October 2005, Pakistan
  • September 2005, Louisiana, Texas
  • January 2005, Thailand, Indonesia
  • October 2001, Afghanistan
  • June 2001, Texas
  • August 2000, Texas, Montana, and Idaho
  • April 2000, Kosovo
  • March 2000, Mozambique
  • August 1999, Turkey
  • January 1999, Christmas Island
  • September 1998, Keiko
  • January 1998, China, Canada, Maine
  • April 1997, Zaire
  • April 1996, Liberia
  • December 1995, Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • September 1995, Virgin Islands

Go to the C-17 Tutorial (clicking on this link will open a new browser window)

Sources for more information