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Reservists help airlift donated goods into Iraq, Nicaragua

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nick Przybyciel
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing helped send 100 pediatric wheelchairs to Iraq and a fire truck to Nicaragua Oct. 5 as part of a humanitarian mission in support of the Denton Program.

"There isn't a better mission that I could think of," said Lt. Col. Kevin Welin, who was the 446th AW aircraft commander for the mission. "Having us work with these philanthropic organizations and individuals is a proven partnership that benefits those who need it most."

The pediatric wheelchairs will be distributed in northern Iraq, in an area Saddam Hussein ordered a chemical attack on 16 years ago. Having noticed a disproportionate amount of children in that region with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy and Spina-Bifida, Army medical personnel worked with a non-profit organization, Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids, to aid the children.

Hope Haven International Ministries provided the wheelchairs, which were picked up by the 446th Airlift Wing aircrew in Sioux Falls, Iowa. After delivery to Iraq, Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids will customize the wheelchairs for each child and distribute them with help from the Army.

The fire truck was delivered to the Nicaraguan city of Condega. Currently, a fire department from Esteli, which is 45 minutes away from Condega, is the closest responder to fires in that city. The delivery of the fire truck will allow Condega to start its own volunteer fire department.

The Reserve aircrew flew all of the assets to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.,  and a crew from that base flew the fire truck and wheelchairs into the respective countries.

Making all this possible is the Denton Program, which allows private U.S. citizens and organizations to use space available on U.S. military cargo planes to transport humanitarian goods, such as clothing, food, medical, educational supplies and vehicles to countries in need.

So far, Reserve aircrews from the 446th AW have flown Denton cargo on seven missions this year, according to Ken Hundemer, a Denton Program coordinator for Air Mobility Command. 

For more information on the Denton Program, go to