Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville Revealed as Coordinating Point For "Off-Radar" Afghanistan Refugee Camps Airlift Relief Mission


Some of the children within the camp posed for this picture:  Despite the difficulties, their faces reflect confidence...  Image: British Afghan Women's Society

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Global HeavyLift Holdings, Inc., a Delaware incorporated transportation logistics firm involved for the past decade in creating a blueprint of architecture for infrastructure necessary in the establishment of a new globe spanning US-controlled industry, Heavylift based on very modestly modified Boeing C-17 Globemaster III's military transport aircraft, today revealed that its Managing Director, Myron D. Stokes, coordinated this past March 2012 with air transport entities Kalitta Air, DHL UK/Bahrain/Bagram, AviaPartner and Fast Forward Freight Belgium a believed unprecedented end-to-end private airlift relief mission to the refugee camps in Kabul, Afghanistan, from his wife Deadra's bedside at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.

"The mission was primarily in response to the excellent reportage of New York Times correspondent Rod Nordland (enhanced by the powerful and moving photography of Andrea Bruce) along with that of the BBC's Andrew North earlier this year, revealing dozens of freezing deaths of children owing to a lack of heating fuel and warm clothes in the Kabul camps during an unusually cold winter," Stokes said. " Relief of the camps was profoundly problematic owing to a near complete breakdown of communications between the US and Afghanistan governments, threats from the Taliban to step up attacks on all western personnel and facilities following the Quran book burnings at Bagram Air Base, and the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier.

"Nevertheless, some caring people were not willing to let another child die from unrelenting cold, and British Afghan Women's Society Director Zarghona Rassa was one of them."

Rassa, a longtime journalist reporting on the plight of women in Afghanistan, approached Global HeavyLift's Director of Middle East Operations Benjamin Ballout, who, after discussions with Ed Corcoran of Global Security and Jobs For Afghans' Ralph Lopez, recommended the mission. "Ben simply called and said, 'We really need to do whatever we can to assist', and that was the trigger", Stokes said.

It the midst of a mission strategy coming together, Stokes' wife, recovering from her third intra-cerebral hemorrhage in June of last year, and for whom he had been pursuing the creation of a case study with several research institutions, had to be emergency transported to Mayo. "Since personnel from all of the air cargo entities working with us from around the world were already in mission launch mode, and I was taking the lead, I approached attending physician Dr. Vandana Bhide, who along with Dr. Wendelyn Bosch, were caring for Deadra this visit, and advised that she and the nurses were going to be hearing strange conversations in the hospital room, thus needing their forbearance and cooperation. Dr. Bhide's response to this was surprised, but positive.

"As I was explaining to Dr. Bhide in detail the mission objectives, Zarghona Rassa called from the refugee camps after arrival from London."

After requests for donations across the UK and world, the British Afghan Women's Society gathered over 2,000 kilos of children's clothes and blankets, the goods were transported via DHL/UK trucks 168 miles from Society headquarters in London to a waiting Kalitta flight at Liege Airport, Belgium, which departed 0745 ZULU/24 March 23. After a brief stop in Bahrain wherein the shipment was transferred to a DHL flight, the relief materials arrived at Bagram 0500z/24, March 24.
Subsequent to a March 31 news conference, the goods were dispersed to waiting families by people they knew and respected.

 "At the recommendation of our in-country coordinators, the ground mission was Afghan to Afghan, in the interest of allowing those in the camps, despite the squalid conditions, to maintain their dignity," Stokes said. "These are an ancient and proud people who gained the respect of no less than Alexander the Great."

Bringing Together a Global Logistics Team

Stokes said of the complex logistical team working together, "Not only were they happy to do this, they were excited. We can't thank the aviation professionals like Pete Sanderlin, Sean Pryce, Thomas Henry, Emil Pando, Mohamed Durgana, Benjamin Seamans, Heath Nicholl, Diana Bean and Connie Kalitta of Kalitta Air; Susan Westlake and Doug Choyce of DHL UK, Nick Mariano, DHL-Bagram, Ebrahim Abdulla and Sami Juma, DHL-Bahrain; Bob Swindens and Aurelie Seron of Fast Forward Freight Belgium; Menno Van Goch and Stef Lemmens of IAS/Kalitta Belgium and innumerable others, enough for this extraordinary effort that moved significant relief goods across the world into a conflict zone in record time. Even more significantly, I believe this represents a new humanitarian resource transport model that has demonstrably removed, via this mission, the typical and often frustrating complexities for moving such goods to the critical point of utilization.

"Of course, none of this would have been possible without the cooperation of the Bagram base personnel under the command of Maj. Gen. Darryl Roberson, USAir Force", he concluded.

Stokes says he has to reserve special praise for the ground team in Kabul which required precise coordination between DHL-Bagram's Nick Mariano, British Afghan Women's Society Director Zarghona Rassa, Sameer Ahmad Mastoor, the transport convoy co-organized by Shahir Zahine of Development Humanitarian Services of Afghanistan (DHSA)Najim Dost, and NYE Express Marketing Director Sayed Hanif Ghanzafar. "The flexibility and resourcefulness demonstrated in the face of rapidly changing circumstances associated with pick up at Bagram Airfield to delivery and storage at the NYE Express warehouse is the stuff of movies", said Stokes. We'll be re-telling the story for the rest of our lives, I think. And, I don't believe that Oprah Winfrey's producers could find a grander example of strong, brave and resourceful women like Zarghona Rassa."

Speaking of strong women, Stokes advises his wife is now back in Mayo, but making measurable progress. "I still seek", he says, "a research facility here or abroad willing to take point on a proposed multi-institutional study that may not only provide clues as to why the catastrophic hemorrhages occurred, but how she survived. She represents, I think, not just a teaching moment, but a teaching decade that may help countless others.

"We therefore dedicate this successful Afghanistan mission to Ismail, the youngest of those succumbing to the cold at 30 days old, and to my wife Deadra."

Media Contact: Benjamin Ballout Global HeavyLift Holdings, Inc., 626-616-1655,
News distributed by PR Newswire iReach:
SOURCE Global HeavyLift Holdings, Inc.
Background articles:

Driven Away by a War, Now Stalked by Winter’s Cold” by Rod Nordland, New York Times, Feb.3, 2012
“Uncovering the Sadness of Young Deaths”, by Rod Nordland/Andrea Bruce photography, New York Times, Feb. 8, 2012
“In the Midst of $2 Billion Per Week Spending on War, Babies Freezing in Kabul for Lack of Food, Fuel.”

About Global HeavyLift Holdings, Inc

Founded in 2002, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based GHH is a strategic air transport solutions entity that was born of a multi-year public/private effort (Commercial Application of Military Airlift Aircraft-CAMAA ) among forward thinkers in both the private sector and government to mitigate emerging and observable vulnerabilities in the U.S. industrial base global supply chain. Such vulnerabilities are represented by the fact that no ocean-borne shipping is in U.S. hands at present, thus potentially subjecting American corporations, especially automotive, and their global operations to the whims and perhaps economically hostile activities of and by foreign governments. Add to this the risk of terrorist activities, which have, according to the Department of Homeland Security, targeted maritime operations; i.e., ships, ports and ocean containers.

Incorporated in Delaware and Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) listed, ( it is the goal of GHH and its strategic partners around the planet to work with key logistics personnel within these corporations and government agencies to conceptualize, craft and structure long-term global supply chain alternative transportation methodologies through continuous — not stop gap or emergency — air augmentation solutions. Its most important mission, however, has been in the co-development of global architecture for infrastructure of a new American controlled industry, Heavylift, utilizing the excellent airlift performance characteristics of the Boeing BC-17.

Press Contact:
Ralph Lopez

Ben Ballout
74 W. Long Lake Rd.
Suite 201
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan