The refugees were stranded on Mount Sinjar in Iraq “by threat of death at the hands of Islamic State militants if they descended,” according to Air Force Times. One C-17 and two C-130s flew to the site to drop the vital supplies to the “starving and dehydrated refugees.”
It was the first humanitarian airdrop over Iraq since the war ended in 2011. And for the crews, the importance of the mission didn’t fully set in until after landing.
… Amid airstrikes and intelligence flights, the Air Force dropped humanitarian aid for the refugees. President Obama said Aug. 14 that after a week of flights, dropping 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water, it is unlikely the U.S. will need to continue humanitarian airdrops. However, Pentagon officials said the option remains open.
“It was quite an eye-opener to see the results of the drop on CNN when we got back, and even more so to hear none other than the president of the United States on TV the next day talking about our mission to the press and the American people,” Maj. Stephen Holt, C-130 pilot with the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, told Air Force Times.