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A U.S. European Command joint assessment team arrived in Tbilisi on Monday at the behest of the Georgian government, U.S. military officials said.

The team, which is being led by Army Brig. Gen. John Miller, deputy commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and the commander of the 7th Army Reserve Command, will investigate the scope of the humanitarian need in the country.

The EUCOM group will focus on issues such as transportation, infrastructure needs, manpower and other life support considerations, according to EUCOM.

The team will then make recommendations on what type of support should be provided in future operations.

As of Monday evening, the U.S. military has delivered more than 270,000 pounds of supplies on 12 flights. The flights out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will continue in the days ahead, EUCOM said.

The lead agency in the relief effort is the U.S. State Department.

The planes, which have included both C-130s and C-17s, have delivered bandages, surgical supplies and medicine as well as emergency shelter and bedding.

The joint effort between the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines transported more than 6,000 blankets, nearly 12,000 sheets, 580 cots, and more than 17,000 sleeping bags, EUCOM reported.

The U.S. Navy in Europe also beefed up its capability to deliver large quantities of humanitarian supplies, calling in a C-40 Clipper cargo plane from the U.S. for the daily missions.

"Wednesday marks the beginning of daily C-40 flights to Georgia," said Cmdr. Scott Miller, a spokesman for Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet. "We’ll fly C-40 missions into Tbilisi until all humanitarian assistance supplies … are delivered. We’re just not sure how long it will take."

The Navy brought in the C-40, configured to carry upwards of 40,000 pounds of cargo, specifically for its support airlift missions to Georgia, Miller said. The naval Reserve crew, Fleet Logistics Support squadron 59 (VR-59), is based out of Fort Worth, Texas, currently deployed to Naval Air Station Sigonella, based on the Italian island of Sicily.

Tuesday, the Navy used a C-130 Hercules cargo plane flown by Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 54, a Reserve unit out of New Orleans and now also deployed to Sigonella. The crew delivered 13,000 pounds of USAID-supplied hygiene kits, which contain toilet paper, soap, shampoo, a comb, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, washing detergent, and sanitary napkins.

Navy planes are flying into the U.S. Army’s Camp Darby, near Pisa in northern Italy, to load up on hygiene kits supplied by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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