Aerial Port gets it done through Denton

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Dale Place
  • 27th Aerial Port Squadron
We finally got it done. The 27APS has been trying to move two fire trucks and two ambulances from Volk Field, Wis. to Managua, Nicaragua since July, and we finally got a C-5 to haul it. Why would we be moving fire trucks and ambulances to South America? It's all donated humanitarian cargo that has been approved by the Denton Program.

The Denton Program was created by Alabama Senator and former Vietnam Prisoner of War, Jeremiah Denton in an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. He understood the need for humanitarian assistance in developing third-world countries and in 1985 his amendment was implemented. Among several parameters for using the program, it allows the use of an Air Force aircraft to fly donated items at no cost to the donor.

Since December 1993, the 27APS has handled over 3,000 tons of cargo on 204 missions to locations around the world. Most of the cargo goes to South America but we are starting to move a lot of food to Afghanistan. We have moved medical equipment, vehicles, food and even some farm equipment to include a tractor and implements.

Our fire trucks were donated by Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners from Stevens Point Wisconsin. They purchase retired fire trucks and other vehicles and send them to South America. Each vehicle is greatly appreciated, as they are used to save many lives as emergency vehicles.

Each movement of cargo also helps the Aerial Port by providing much needed "real world" training. We do everything from unloading the trucks, palletizing, completing all the paperwork and finally loading aircraft. We load aircraft such as C-17's, C-5's and KC-10's. Airframes we don't normally get to work with back home in Minneapolis.

As I write this, the Aerial Port has 15 pallets of food going to two locations in Afghanistan. Feed My Starving Children and Impact Lives have each donated 44,000 pounds of food that was palletized over the November UTA. It left Nov. 8 on a KC-10 to Charleston AFB, S.C. where it will be stored until an opportune aircraft can deliver it to Afghanistan. On the way to Charleston, the KC-10 will provide fuel to other aircraft as their boomers fulfill their required training as well. As you can tell, this is a win-win for everyone.

The 27APS stays active in the humanitarian cargo world and enjoys the opportunities that it provides along with knowing we are helping people around the world to make their life a little better.