Operation Provide Hope

Reserve C-17 brings food to Albanians. Feb. 1992 – Sept. 1994. Air Force Reservists delivered tons of food and life-sustaining supplies to the 11 nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States in support of Operation Provide Hope. Here, a C-17 from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. taxis for departure to Albania.

Operation Provide Hope was a humanitarian operation conducted by the U.S Air Force to provide medical equipment to former Soviet republics during their transition to capitalism. The operation was announced by Secretary of State James A. Baker, III on January 22–23, 1992 and the initial shipment of supplies was sent on February 10, 1992.[1] Sixty-five C-5 and C-141 missions flew 2,363 short tons (2,144 t) of food and medical supplies to 24 locations in the Commonwealth of Independent States during the initial launch. Much of these supplies was left over from the buildup to the Persian Gulf War.[2]

For nearly two weeks, US Air Force C-5A’s and C-141’s delivered several hundred tons of emergency food, medicines, and medical supplies to all twelve new independent states of the former Soviet Union, not only to each capital city but also to several outlying cities, especially across Russia. Small teams of US personnel from various government agencies (On-Site Inspection Agency, USAID, and USDA) had been placed in each destination shortly before the deliveries, to coordinate with local officials and to monitor to the best extent possible that the deliveries reached the intended recipients (i.e., orphanages, hospitals, soup kitchens, and needy families).

Following the initial shipment, Phase II of the operation began, consisting of continuing support of the former Soviet republics. Food and medical supplies were shipped by sea, land, and air from Europe. In all, 25,000 short tons of food and medicine were sent to 33 cities in the former Soviet Union. The final state of the operation was to build, staff, and train hospitals throughout the former Soviet Union.[3]

Captain Kevin M. Boyce of the U.S. Air Force and the 335th Military Airlift Wing was named "Rhein Main Stage Manager" for this operation. A letter from General Hansford T. Johnson congratulated Captain Boyce on his accomplishments throughout operation PROVIDE HOPE.

The operation concluded in September 1994.


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