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Blanket Benevolence: The first two aid-laden C-130J Hercules lifted off from Ramstein AB, Germany, en route to Turkey's earthquake battered Van region. Working with the State Department, US European Command loaded the 37th Airlift Squadron aircraft with hygiene supplies, bedding, and cots, for the flights on Oct. 29, the same day as the Turkish government's request for aid. Measured at 7.2 on the Richter scale, "the earthquake in Van really hit a couple of areas hard, but it is great to be able to help our friends," said US embassy spokesman Laird Treiber. "This humanitarian aid mission is a great example of the strong partnership that exists between our two nations," added Lt. Col. Patrick Driscoll, 37th AS commander. EUCOM plans to deliver 350 tents, 2,600 cots, and 1,700 blankets to victims displaced in the disaster. More than 500 were reportedly killed and 2,300 injured in the seism. (Ramstein report by SSgt. Benjamin Wilson)