NEWS | Feb. 17, 2011

DENTON Program delivers aid to Central America

By Staff Sgt. Kimberly Rae Moore Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

An Air Force KC-10 "Extender" air to air refueling tanker from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., delivered more than fuel to the 612th Air Base Squadron here Feb. 15.

The KC-10, from the 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, brought 42,000-pounds of humanitarian assistance, including donations collected from across the United States, as a part of 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. The amendment provides the authority for DoD (Department of Defense) to use extra space on U.S. military cargo aircraft to transport humanitarian assistance materials donated by non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and private voluntary organizations for humanitarian relief.

"He (Senator Denton) understood the need for humanitarian assistance in developing countries, and in 1985 his amendment was implemented," said Capt. Geoff Ashby, 612th ABS assistant director of operations. "Recently, we have been moving a lot of donations to those in need."

The movement of the KC-10 was part of an extensive training program. Pilots, flight engineers and boom operators received training in the areas of Overseas Flight and Ground Operations, Oceanic Procedures, Cargo and Passenger Operations and Aerial Refueling. Because the purpose of the mission was training, the cargo area was available for use.

"There are a lot of moving parts to make this happen," Captain Ashby said. "First the person or organization in the states sends donated items to a non-profit organization, which coordinates their transport. Once the items are compiled, they are taken to a military port."

Local organizations here register with Joint Task Force-Bravo Civil and Military Operations and let them know what items they need. When those items arrive, the organization is notified.

Today's delivery contained items such as crutches and wheel chairs for local medical facilities along with books and toys for local orphanages, collected and donated by the non-profit organization Helping Hands Ministries, along with seven water filtration systems. The water filtration systems are bound for under-developed portions of Honduras.

"A mission of this nature strengthens and readies the mobility crews for world-wide deployment, everyone involved benefits," Captain Ashby said. "It's a privilege to be able to connect the critical training of our forces and the needs of the community around us."

Joint Task Force-Bravo supports humanitarian and civic assistance missions throughout Central America to enhance theater-wide security, stability and prosperity and reinforce cooperation.

For more information on the DENTON Program, visit http://www.dsca.osd.mil/programs/HA/new/DENTON%20(SPACE%20AVAILABLE)%20PROGRAM.pdf