Special Denton Program mission comes to TMC

by Tech. Sgt. Jerome C. Baysmore
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

12/28/2010 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- Manas KC-135s are known primarily for their aerial refueling capability and ability to move personnel and equipment quickly.

But this Dec. 23 mission held a special significance--it also brought needed supplies provided by kindness, donations by the University of Montana, the Air Force and the Denton Program.

"We received 4,000 pounds of donated clothing that was collected by the University Of Montana," said Maj.Elliot Safdie, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing director of theater security cooperation division. "That collection was stored in volunteers' homes and garages until they were ready for shipment."

The Denton Program was created by Alabama Senator and former Vietnam Prisoner of War, Jeremiah Denton as part of an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. After lobbying and expressing the need for humanitarian assistance in developing third-world countries, his amendment was implemented in 1985.

"It always feels good to help out others that are less fortunate than we are, especially this time of the year, Major Safdie added. "Instead of running around and purchasing gifts for family members and friends, I can do more good and personally touch many lives--that is much more rewarding than the Holiday gift giving ritual.

"This is--by far--much more important and meaningful. We could not have done this without the generosity of the people of Montana, their university, athletic program, ROTC cadets, the many volunteers that collected, sorted and boxed the clothing."
The TMC bound clothing items were collected, inspected, labeled, weighed and driven to Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. After the U.S. Agency for International Development approved the shipment, it was palletized and part of it was loaded onto an inbound KC-135 that arrived Dec. 23. The remaining 3,000 pounds will arrive from Fairchild as space permits.

The linchpin of this event was from local volunteer and retired Montana Army National Guard master sergeant, Mr. Jim Carney. He served in Kyrgyzstan during the late 1990s to teach emergency medicine. After his retirement, he returned and he and his wife, Nadia, built the Yuventus Training Center for special needs children in 2001. Mr. Carney used funds donated from Montana to build the training center as refurbish other projects throughout the country. When the opportunity came to help with this project, he didn't hesitate to call home.

"I didn't expect it to be as big as it got," he said. "I called Suzy Greatz, a professional photographer and professor back home who had been here before, and she just ran with it--we got donations from clear across the state."

"Before I came here, I worked for money," Mr. Carney said. "I saw how fortunate we are, and I started helping more and more."

According to the program Web site, www.dsca.osd.mil, the Denton program permits DoD to provide transportation of privately donated humanitarian cargo to foreign countries using military transportation on a space-available basis. The program is authorized under the Jeremiah Denton amendment to the 10th United States Code (section 402). There is no cost to the donating agency or organization for U.S. government transportation related costs.

The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) must certify that the project is in the national interest of the United States, the material being transported is in usable condition, and there are legitimate requirements for the material and adequate arrangements for distribution.

There is a minimum load requirement of 2,000 pounds (one short-ton) and the donor must have a designated recipient for the cargo at the destination. In addition, users of this program are made aware that transportation depends on the availability of a military flight between specific origin and destination.