315th Airlift Wing delivers humanitarian cargo to Nicaragua

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Joe Simms
  • 315th Airlfit Wing
Reservists from the 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, S.C. delivered almost 60,000 lbs. of humanitarian aid to Managua, Nicaragua Saturday, June 9.

The three-day mission delivered school supplies, food, and clothing to the people of Nicaragua and provided training opportunities for the pilots and loadmasters who joined the mission.

"There are always people who are less fortunate than we are and it's nice to be able to allocate the resources we have to help them out," said 1st Lt. Jenna Onken a pilot with the 300th Airlift Squadron. "It's a good feeling to help someone out who's dealing with different kinds of hardships than we experience back home."

For Lt. Onken, a recent graduate from C-17 flight training school, the mission provided her with experience flying outside the United States and communicating with international control towers in unfamiliar locations.

This mission was made possible by the Denton Amendment, a State Department program allowing the delivery of donated humanitarian aid to fly on Air Force training missions on a space available basis.

The mission began Friday afternoon when the 300th AS crew flew to Maxwell AFB, Ala. to pick up a group from the 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. Once the C-17 Globemaster III touched down in Alabama, the AE crew quickly boarded the aircraft and configured it as a mobile hospital while medics played the role of injured service members receiving treatment. The 908th AES utilized their time in the air by participating in life saving scenarios they would encounter when transporting patients from Afghanistan to hospitals in Germany and the United States.

Staff Sgt. Alex Hull, a loadmaster with the 300th AS and traditional reservist who works full time with Boeing, also received a check ride on the flight, an annual assessment testing his knowledge of aircraft systems and proficiency in loading the aircraft correctly and safely.

"Denton missions are challenging because you don't know what you'll be faced with when you arrive, said Sergeant Hull. "You don't know what kind of equipment they'll have or if they have any equipment at all do download the cargo. It's always and adventure but when the mission is done it's very satisfying."

In the last year the 315th has flown several Denton missions delivering thousands of pounds of donated supplies and equipment to Nicaragua, Honduras and earthquake victims in Haiti.

Master Sgt. Bobby Barrett, another loadmaster with the 300th AS, sees these missions as a nice change of pace. "It's a great feeling. We've been supporting the war effort for so long it's rewarding to do something different such as bringing supplies to feed and help people."

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