509th Logistics Readiness Squadron helps deliver aid to Nicaragua

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Bryson Britt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Many people may have heard of Operation Christmas Drop, the U.S. Air Force’s longest-running humanitarian airlift operation, but they may not have heard of the Denton Program.

The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo donated by non-government organizations to developing nations.

Airmen at Whiteman Air Force Base recently had the opportunity to support this program by helping transport a fire truck and other firefighting equipment to Nicaragua on behalf of the Moreau Fire Department.

“This is actually the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve shipped out something like that,” said Tech Sgt. Camren Wolfe, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) air transportation supervisor. “Typically, our work with the program has just consisted of things like medical supplies or clothing, so this gave us a different opportunity than we’re used to.”

He said, working with the Denton Program provides unique opportunities to not only contribute to the Air Force’s humanitarian mission but to also train on different capabilities.

“These missions typically come at a time when we’re a little slower,” Wolfe said. “It helps us stay fresh when things do get busy and gives us an opportunity to stay sharp on skills, like pallet loading, that we do at other bases but typically not while assigned to LRS.”

The Denton program also provides opportunities for collaboration between Wings.

Master Sgt. Kenneth Hundemer, 317th Airlift Squadron chief loadmaster and 437th Aerial Port Squadron Denton operations manager, was part of the team that organized transportation and the crew that picked up the donation.

He said seeing the teamwork displayed by the 509th LRS working with the C-17 aircrew from the 315th Airlift Wing out of Joint Base Charleston, S.C. was rewarding.

But it wasn’t the most rewarding part for all those involved.

“It’s a good feeling to have a part in getting these communities (in developing countries) the resources they need to sustain and further their growth,” Wolfe said.

The Denton Program and other DOD humanitarian efforts show the continued efforts that the U.S. makes to aid developing nations.

“The United States Air Force has a long history of providing humanitarian assistance, both domestically and on the international stage,” Hundemer said. “This humanitarian support demonstrates the ability of the US Air Force to have a global impact, not just with ‘beans and bullets,’ but with commodities that improve the lives of people everywhere.”