SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Joint Task Force-Bravo personnel are ambassadors in the Central American region working to improve the cooperation between the U.S. and the people here in the area. To gain the trust and respect of a nation, it is important to have a working relationship with its government and the people who live there -- making relationship building a key priority for JTF-Bravo.
The organization looked to build upon the strong relationship between the U.S. and Honduras at Soto Cano Air Base May 13, when, through the Denton Program, it welcomed a C-5M Super Galaxy from from the 433rd Airlift Wing, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and its cargo of approximately 85,000 pounds of rice and beans which is to be distributed to people in the Yoro Department of Honduras by a local non-governmental organization.
The Denton Program, created to allow private U.S. citizens and organizations to use space available on U.S. military cargo planes, helps to transport humanitarian goods to countries in need. The Denton Program at Soto Cano AB is overseen by the base's joint partners in JTF-Bravo's Civil Military Operations Directorate with support from the 612th Air Base Squadron's Air Terminal Operations Center.
"Most of the people in the mountain areas of the Yoro Department are subsistence farmers or working in the farming areas. The weather in this area has been unstable resulting in droughts and heavy rain resulting in floods," said Dan Carpenter of World Empowerment Unlimited, the non-governmental organization that donated the rice and beans. "This condition has led to poor crops and lack of jobs in the agriculture area. Since there is unstable subsistence farming, the people lack proper food. This food will help them get by until conditions improve."
World Empowerment Unlimited estimates the donations will reach 8,500 people and in about two weeks.
"I think it's great that we can help a lot of people not only in Honduras but really the whole region here," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Woodard, 612th ABS ATOC. "My role was to help download the C-5's cargo and get it ready to move. This was the second Denton cargo mission I've been a part of and I'm hoping there will be more while I'm here."
Donations moved through the Denton Program here vary, but have previously consisted of medical equipment and supplies, food items, construction materials and machinery, clothes, children's articles, and vehicles.
"In 2015, over 142,000 pounds of cargo valued at $590,000 passed through Soto Cano AB via the Denton Program," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Carlos Moya, JTF-Bravo Civil-Military Operations director. "The Denton Program has allowed U.S. donations to be disseminated throughout 11 of the 18 Departments within Honduras and impacting an estimated 161,492 Honduran citizens."
Through the 1985 Denton Amendment, named after U.S. Sen. Jeremiah A. Denton of Alabama, the Air Force has shipped millions of pounds of humanitarian aid worldwide at no cost to the donors. The program is jointly administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of State, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and the Department of Defense.
"It is easier to get food and material donated than it is to find money to pay for shipping," Carpenter said. "Without the Denton Program we would not be able to ship the food to those who desperately need it. Thanks to the Air Force and all of those involved for their help and support."