News | Aug. 30, 2016

Visiting Colombian Airmen donate supplies for Louisiana flood victims

By Capt. Bryan Bouchard 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

Colombian Airmen visiting Barksdale Air Force Base, La., donated supplies Aug. 27, 2016, to the local Salvation Army for delivery to relief centers in central Louisiana following weeks of torrential rain and flooding in the region.  

"As military members we want to serve our country and part of that is also supporting our community," said Colombian Air Force Brig. Gen. Rodrigo Alejandro Valencia Guevara, the commander of the Colombian contingent operating from Barksdale.

“We are glad to be here in Louisiana. After seeing the news coverage of the floods, we wanted to do our part and help.  

Forty-five Colombians, and four of their A-29B Super Tucano aircraft, have been in the state to participate in the U.S. Air Force’s Green Flag East exercise, which concludes this week. Together with visiting A-10s, F-16s and KC-135 tankers, they’ve been practicing close-air-support skills at nearby Fort Polk.   But since arriving to Barksdale Aug. 13, they’d seen the coverage of the destruction on television from their hotel, and wanted to help.  

“After seeing the destruction caused by the floods and how if affected families in southern Louisiana, our group put together some funds and we purchased non-perishable items to help those in need. ” the general said.  

So far, the flooding in Louisiana has displaced thousands of residents. While the Colombians’ donation is only a dent in what’s needed, officials at the local Salvation Army say the gesture is tremendous.  

“We are very grateful that the Colombian Air Force continent made this donation,” said Terrance Trammell, director of operations at the Bossier City, La., Salvation Army. “We have seen things down there first hand and the affected families need all the help they can get down there."