Team Grissom helps provide aid, hope to orphanages in Afghanistan

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jami K. Lancette
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs
Global reach and global power, tenets of the Air Force’s core mission, also come with a global responsibility – a responsibility to the good of all mankind.

With that responsibility in mind and the capabilities at hand, Grissom’s Air Force reservists partnered with Airmen from Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., Nov. 2 to provide 84,700 pounds of food to orphanages and charities in Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian relief mission under the Denton Program Nov. 2.

The Denton program is a Department of Defense humanitarian assistance transportation program, which provides continual transportation of supplies such as agricultural equipment, clothing, educational supplies, food and medical supplies to countries in need of assistance.

“We typically do three-four of these missions a year,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Connelly, 49th Aerial Port Squadron operations superintendent. “We are contacted by the Denton cargo program coordinator from Air Force Reserve Command requesting assistance with the buildup and loading of cargo that needs to be sent overseas.

The almost 85,000 pounds of cargo contained 498,960 fortified rice-soy casserole meals that can feed 5,000 men and women and 25,000 children.

“For our Airmen participating, this mission touches on all aspects of their training such as cargo preparation and loading of aircraft,” said Connelly. “An added bonus of this training is that we in turn get to help a lot of people out that will benefit from the donations.

“I was on the receiving end for a Denton cargo trip in Afghanistan years ago before I was on the shipping end, and seeing the impact that these missions make is truly remarkable,” Connelly added.

For many Airmen, this program is not only a good opportunity for training and real world experience, it’s also an opportunity for them to witness and participate in something greater than that.

“It definitely reinforces espirit de corps,” said Tech Sgt. Stephen MacKenzie, 49th Aerial Port Squadron quality assurance manager. “It also provides a sense of doing something that is very positive and helping those in need.”

MacKenzie also mentioned that missions like these show that the U.S. Air Force plays a role other than just combat, a role in compassion for mankind.

“Our troops get to play a small part in helping children, and those affected in a war torn area, get the proper nutrition to make it to the next day,” said MacKenzie. “And the fact that Grissom is a part of helping others across the world is very encouraging and enlightening.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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