Dr. Willard H. (Bill) Wattenburg
Food for Refugees
Here we go again. We failed to rescue thousands after the November 2013 typhoon in the Philippines with immediate air drops of food packages, just as we let thousands die needlessly in Haiti in 2010.
Take a look at the short YouTube video of the TRIAD system perfected by the U.S. Air Force to feed hundreds of thousands of refugees in Afghanistan in 2001-2001 with air drops of food packages without parachutes. It speaks for itself. Then you will better understand the frustration of the pleas for assistance to Haiti and the Philippines as documented below.
The full history of the TRIAD system and successful air drops of food packages without parachutes to refugees is given in the various reports herein with published reports and references.
Update: 1 Dec 2013
Philippine refugees were not done. Many died needlessly.
the desperate appeals to the State Dept and the Pentagon to
air drop food packages to thousands of Philippine refugees in remote
areas in mid November 2013 before they died waiting for the slow,
standard relief agency ground delivery of food and supplies.
Summary of Appeals for Philippine Refugees:
From Dr. Bill Wattenburg
TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
AND THE NEWS MEDIA EVERYWHERE
THIS SHOULD MAKE YOU SICK:
We are leaving thousands in the Philippines to die while the State Department and the Pentagon refuse to do what the Pentagon did for hundreds of thousands of other refugees. It is called the Air Force “TRIAD” system that dropped millions of food packages without parachutes to Afghan refugees for months in 2001-2002. The high altitude air drops simply scattered food packages all over the ground near the appreciative refugees. This way, all got some food. Experiments have shown that almost any food packages or canned goods in bulk boxes can also be dropped the same way with most of the items intact and edible after they hit the ground. (See the History of TRIAD experiments and the time line enclosed below.) Click on the link below to the official Air Force video that shows the TRIAD operation in Afghanistan.
This is posted on YouTube.com under the title
THE STUFF TO
After seeing the TRIAD video, ask yourself what you would want if your children were starving and dying in your arms while you watched US cargo planes flying overhead delivering supplies to warehouses far away -- food that could have been dropped on the ground near you while you wait for weeks for the "relief" trucks to arrive.
Air Force crews perfected the TRIAD system to the height of efficiency, as can been seen in the official video. They were proud of the TRIAD operation then. But the standard "relief agency" comfortable bureaucrats don’t like it. It overshadows their slow ground delivery procedures. And after 2002, the Pentagon generals complained that they did not want their "war fighter crews used for relief operations."
Standard relief agency ground delivery systems are essential for long term support of refugees. But ground delivery typically can not reach thousands before they die. That is why TRIAD should be a required complement to the standard relief agency ground delivery procedures.
Operational crews in the air force today know they could have been feeding the Philippine refugees with food packages from the air the day after the typhoon. Just ask some of the frustrated base pilots and commanders.
All the resources needed are in the Pacific area. We have millions of military "Meals Ready to Eat" boxes, daily ration MRE's, in our base warehouses. We dropped tens of thousands of these over Bosnia in the first test of TRIAD (see the press reports).
Insensitive "relief agency" bureaucrats and Pentagon staff members have been lying to congress members and their own Secretary of Defense and the White House with excuses for why we can not drop food packages the TRIAD way. Maybe they are most worried that the press will realize that they did nothing for Haiti in 2010 and let thousands die needlessly there while our “TRIAD” crews and cargo planes were ready to go a few hours away in Florida. Congressional leaders and I pleaded with them to help Haiti.
Here are answers to the idiot critics of TRIAD:
1. The standard “Relief Agency” idiots still say: "Oh, it will be dangerous to drop food packages without parachutes because the packages will come down at high velocity and hit people." This is stupid. Experiments at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1991 proved that air resistance limits the drop velocity no matter how high the altitude. Packages hit the ground at the same speed no matter whether they are dropped from 500 feet or 50,000 ft. That is why the Air Force started using this system. Bulky food packages never hurt anyone.
2. The Air Force perfected the system they call TRIAD to feed refugees in Afghanistan by dropping food packages from high altitude without parachutes -- just kick them out the door in big boxes that fly open in the air. We later did it for the flood refugees in Pakistan a few years ago. It is fully described in their own video posted on YouTube at
We have millions of the military meals ready to eat (MRE) small boxes in military warehouses, including bases in the Pacific. The Pentagon dropped tens of thousands of the MRE’s in 1993 to the starving in a city in Bosnia surrounded by the Serbs.
donated hundreds of thousands of Granola Bars
for the first drops in Bosnia
dense heavy water bottles can be dangerous when dropped from high
altitude. However, we also developed at the
Livermore Lab a simple and safe way to air drop large
numbers of small plastic water bottles that would be
dangerous if just dropped over the heads of people on
the ground. We dropped the water bottles
into pools of water that are everywhere in flood zones. The
plastic bottles float with the heads of the bottles showing so
that people can find them easily. The ½ liter
water bottles, like food packages, can also be scattered over open
fields by dropping them from helicopters at 50 to 100 ft altitude. Very
few of the small plastic water bottles break on impact. This
avoids the danger of helicopters landing near mobs of desperate
HISTORY OF THE TRIAD REFUGEE FOOD DROP WITHOUT PARACHUTES OPERATION
By Bill Wattenburg
November 21, 2013
The official Pentagon "operation TRIAD" video below shows how the U.S. military dropped food packages to hundreds of thousands of refugees in Afghanistan in 2001-2002. Thousands of Philippine typhoon victims are dying in remote areas waiting for standard ground delivery relief agency supplies that will not be there for weeks to come. Click on this short youtube.com video to see what can be done today:
Here is the time line of how TRIAD came about:
Shortly after the first Gulf War in 1991, I observed how the Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq were being slaughtered when they attempted to retrieve food that had been dropped to them on large pallets with parachutes. I suggested then that food items should be dropped without parachutes so as to scatter the food over large areas so that enemy soldiers could not target the parachuted pallets. I tried to tell the local military officers that the food items would survive the fall because air resistance limits the drop velocity , no matter how high the altitude of the plane. They refused to try the idea or even do a simple experiment at an airbase where they could observe the results.
The first air drops of food packages without parachutes were conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Ordinary plastic wrapped food packages and canned goods of all sorts were dropped over a field from a private plane at 2000 ft altitude. Almost all plastic wrapped packages and 90% of cans were not broken on impact. Boxes of breakfast cereal, cans of Spam and corned beef, plastic wrapped dried fruit, small plastic jars of peanut butter, packages of cooked meat, Granola bars -- most all survived the impact. Even those that were damaged were still edible.
Dr. Jane Hull in the National Security Council asks the Pentagon to try the idea in Bosnia where a large city is surrounded and the people are being starved by the Serbs. Tens of thousands of ordinary military meals ready to eat boxes (MRE's) are dropped without parachutes from high altitude by U.S. military cargo planes. Most of the boxes were not broken on impact. As Wattenburg had proven at the Livermore Lab, air resistance limited the drop velocity. The food packages were scattered all over the city. Everyone picked up some food. No one was hurt. The Quaker Oats company donated hundreds of thousands of Granola Bars for the first drops in Bosnia. The kids loved them. The operation was considered highly successful. (Pentagon public relations quickly announced that they had always been thinking about doing this!) See published reports at Science Magazine, 2 April 1993, page 27, and San Francisco Chronicle, 23 March 1993, front page.
The U.S. military perfects the air drop procedure as Operation TRIAD to feed over a hundred thousand refugees in Afghanistan during the winter of 2001-2002. The Pentagon prepares an official manual and video of the TRIAD operation.
The TRIAD video and other materials are withdrawn by the Pentagon after some top generals reportedly complain that the U.S. military is a "war fighter establishment, not a relief agency." However, someone posted the TRIAD video on YouTube.com where it can not be taken down. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCxwprZekpM
More experiments at Livermore Lab demonstrated how plastic water bottles and large cartons of canned goods can be dropped out of helicopters at 500 ft with most items intact after impact. Water bottles can be dropped into any body of water such as reservoirs and ponds. The water bottles float with their tops visible for people to pick up. The water bottles can be dropped on solid ground from a helicopter hovering at 50 ft with little damage to the bottles. A helicopter can scatter food items and water bottles over any open area so that all refugees can pick up some of them. This avoids the mob scenes when helicopters land near refugees and deposit supplies in one place. Larger cartons of canned meat such as Spam and corned beef break open on impact leaving most cans intact and scattered over a large area. But even damaged cans provide food that is immediately edible for starving refugees.
The conclusion from these experiments is that much of the bulk food cartons in relief agency warehouses can be air dropped without parachutes from low flying helicopters to provide immediate food to refugees until standard ground delivery trucks arrive. The relief agencies should stock long-shelf-life, small, high energy density items such as granola and energy bars, Spam and canned meats, peanut butter or equivalents in plastic pouches, etc, in bulk cartons that can be kicked out of helicopters or low flying aircraft over cleared areas near refugees.
2010. The Haiti earthquake. Top congressional leaders and I asked the Pentagon and the White House to supply food drops for starving refugees. The response was: “The UN Relief Agency is in charge and they do not think that TRIAD air drops are necessary.” An estimated ten thousand died of malnutrition and bad water before the UN Relief trucks delivered supplies, weeks later, to desperate mobs that shoved the weak and sick aside.
Update: 5 Nov 2010
Note: The Hurricane hitting Haiti now will again
leave hundreds of thousands without food or medical care in the tent
cities that will be destroyed. The standard UN Relief
trucks will not be able to deliver supplies in the mud for several
weeks. Again, the children and the weak
will die first unless the U.S. military air drops
food packages without parachutes to them, as we should have done last
January. Take a look at the YouTube video link below
showing what we did for millions in Afghanistan in 2001 and
again, this summer, in Pakistan. You will see tens of
thousands of small food packages being loaded into large
cardboard boxes and dropped without parachutes from hiogh
altitude. The boxes burst open as they drop and safely
scatter the food packages all over any
area. This way, all the people get
some food, not just the strong who hoard the food delivered too
late by truck -- while the children and the
weak cry and die nearby.
These videos will make you sick if you have a heart and you
watched the thousands of children in Haiti dying in the streets
THOUSANDS OF REFUGEE CHILDREN DIE NEEDLESSLY
By Dr. Bill Wattenburg
20 Oct 2010
You can save thousands of children from dying a horrible death. I can tell you how -- but I have to gore a sacred cow. The UN Relief Agency allows thousands to die needlessly in every major disaster. The proof is only a click away on the internet (see links below). Last January, they allowed at least 40 thousand children and the sick to die in the streets of Haiti. Our warehouses were full with millions of small food packages that could have been air- dropped without parachutes all around those who were starving —every day. Prominent scientists and I pleaded over KGO Radio with the UN and Washington officials to use this air-drop procedure that was developed to feed and save hundreds of thousands of trapped refugees in Bosnia (1993) and Afghanistan (2001-2002). Why not our neighbors a stones throw away in Haiti?
The air drop idea came to me in 1991 when we were trying to feed the Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq after the Gulf War. The refugees were being machine gunned when they rushed to the large pallets of food that we dropped by parachute. Military commanders would not believe that the impact velocity of food packages hitting the ground is limited by air resistance -- no matter how high the planes are flying. Later, at the U.C. Livermore National Laboratory, I dropped food packages from 5000 feet over a field. I proved that you can air drop most any small package of edible food wrapped in plastic that can be found in a supermarket (my favorites were dried fruit and Granola bars). These simple experiments were published in the major scientific journals and newspapers around the world.
"Dropping food packages to refugees without using parachutes,"Science, April 1993, page 27. San Francisco Chronicle, 23 March 1993, front page.
In 1993, the Pentagon finally agreed to air drop standard military Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) packages over a major city in Bosnia that was surrounded by the Serbs (Quaker Oats contributed 100,000 Granola bars for the kids). Who do you expect will win an Easter egg hunt? The starving kids got as much food as the generals. And our planes flew safely above enemy fire at 10,000 feet. The Pentagon quickly announced that this would be the new “standard operating procedure” for delivering food to isolated refugees. Indeed, in 2001 our military developed “ethnically appropriate” food bags for starving refugees in Afghanistan. Millions of these “food from heaven” lunch bags were air-drop from high altitude without parachutes over the heads of hungry families all winter. The military perfected this operation and proudly named it “TRIAD.” Watch the impressive YouTube video of the TRIAD operation over Afghanistan at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCxwprZekpM and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlOanfQvrOE.
This video will make you sick when you see what we did not do for the desperate and dying in Haiti.
You can read the full history of this operation below
So, tell me why our government did not use TRIAD in Haiti. Dozens of military cargo planes were only an hour away. You watched the kids with sad eyes and bloated bellies starving on the evening news. It was two weeks before bulk food arrived on UN Relief trucks. Then the strong men hoarded all the 100 lb bags handed out while the weak cried and died nearby.
I learned that
the political advisors to the White House and Pentagon insisted that
the UN Relief Agency had to be in charge in Haiti. That way,
the administration could not be criticized for less than
perfect rescue efforts -- the way it happened to George Bush after
the Katina hurricane destroyed New Orleans. I
personally believe it was more basic than that. The
people in Haiti were not politically important to the U.S.
They are poor and black. I wondered how the president could
look at himself in the mirror when he learned what the Pentagon did not
do for Haiti that they did for Afghanistan. Make sure he sees
I have fought the “relief agency” establishment since 1991. Their well-paid executives will not air drop food packages to the starving. The TRIAD air drop procedure upsets their applecart. Emergency food can be air dropped a day after a disaster anywhere. Then the TV crews have a hard time finding desperate victims. And, the “relief agency” workers are not the only heroes in town when their trucks finally arrive.
Tell Washington: no more of our tax dollars to the UN and relief agencies until they air drop food in the first few days of every disaster. At least twenty percent of food they stock with our money should be air drop packages. Oh, by the way, did you notice that the recent flood victims in Pakistan were getting food packages air-dropped without parachutes -- food supplied by U.S. military assistance. Too bad for the Haitian people that they were not helping us fight a war somewhere.
History of the Operation
Dropping Food Packages to Refugees Without Parachutes (1991-93)