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Reservists from the 300th Airlift Squadron stationed at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., offload a donated school bus in Guatemala, Feb. 3, 2012. The bus will allow children, who may otherwise not have the opportunity ,to obtain an education throughout the area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Wayne Capps)
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Charleston reservists score with humanitarian aid in Guatemala

Posted 2/5/2013   Updated 2/5/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Bobby Pilch
315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/5/2013 - GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA -- The National Football League was not the only organization busy this Super Bowl weekend. Reservists from the 300th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Charleston, S.C. traveled more than 2,700 miles to deliver about 77,000 pounds of cargo to a children's hospice facility in Guatemala Sunday, Feb. 3.

The mission involved a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft delivering a donated school bus and supplies through the efforts of the Mission of Love Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Austintown, Ohio. It is estimated that more than 3,500 people from the rural area of Tecpan, Guatemala will benefit from the donated school bus, food, clothing and medical supplies.

Missions like these are made possible by the Denton Amendment, a state department program allowing the delivery of donated humanitarian aid to fly on Air Force assets on a space available basis.

"We could not do it without the Denton program," said Kathleen Price, founder and director of the Mission of Love Foundation. "Through the Denton program and U.S. Air Force, our hands are extended worldwide."

The humanitarian aid will affect thousands of lives and the school bus will provide the Mayan children with the opportunity to obtain an education according to Price.

"It's a cool opportunity to get aid to people who otherwise would not get the chance to receive these items, said Staff Sgt. Justin Palmer a resident of Powell, Tenn. and 300 AS loadmaster. "It's an honor to take part in these types of missions, it makes the trip worthwhile to be able to see their faces and to see their appreciation."

Thomas Nelson, a resident of Poland, Ohio, was on-hand in Guatemala to see the school bus unloaded from the Charleston based C-17. "We are hoping the bus can change generations of lives," said Nelson who, along with his wife Dr. Kathie Nelson, purchased the bus for the foundation.

While airmen assigned to the 300 AS execute numerous missions annually, it's these types of missions that can have a profound affect on the crew.

"It makes you feel great and has a direct impact more so than just giving money away," said Lt. Col. Lance Livesey, one of the 300 AS reserve pilots on the mission and civilian pilot for Delta airlines. "Additionally, it adds to the crew's moral."

In the past year, the 315th Airlift Wing has flown seven missions, transporting more than 84 tons of humanitarian aid as part of the Denton cargo program to six different countries including Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti, Belize, Antigua and Honduras, according to 315 AW Current Operations. Typical cargo has included food, fire trucks, an ambulance, school and medical supplies.

The relief missions are part of the ongoing efforts by the 315 AW to utilize flight training hours to provide humanitarian relief to countries in need while also providing mandated training to C-17 aircrew members.

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2/8/2013 10:14:21 AM ET
The taxpayers...
Ryan, Cleveland OH
2/6/2013 9:34:35 AM ET
Just curious but does the DoD get reimbursed for their costs to transport these goods Understand the concept is to fill otherwise empty or partially empty aircraft. However the additional weight increases fuel consumption. Who pays for it
SNCO Ret, Scott
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