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Denton program delivers assistance around the world.

Jim Bailey helps impoverished people around the world by working to get donated clothing, food and medical supplies delivered to Latin America, Afghanistan and other countries in need.

Bailey manages logistics for the Denton Program at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The program allows non-government organizations to transport, on a space-available basis, donated humanitarian goods and equipment aboard military cargo aircraft.

Established in 1985 as an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act by former Alabama senator and Vietnam prisoner of war Jeremiah Denton, the program strives to assist civilian organizations in easing human suffering while also supporting U.S. foreign policy.

A career Air Force aerial port specialist who retired from active duty at Charleston two years ago, Bailey is well-suited for the job. Before leaving active duty, he provided quality assurance on dozens of humanitarian airlift missions to Latin America and worked closely with local officials and U.S. embassies.

Bailey coordinates logistics with Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units to deliver donated goods to Charleston. Then, he makes sure the goods are delivered to their final destination.

The Denton Program keeps Bailey as well as the 437th Aerial Port Squadron at Charleston busy. So far this year, more than a half million pounds of humanitarian goods and eight vehicles have been delivered around the world.

Donated goods come from a variety of sources. For example, the Rotary Club from Athens, Gav recently donated an ambulance to the people of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The airlift mission to deliver the mission took place in June.

The process of picking up donated goods somewhere in the United States to delivering them to the final destination is pretty involved, Bailey said. It starts with a donor submitting a request for assistance. Once the donor's request is approved, Bailey posts the request for support to all airlift units. When a flying unit and aerial port commit to moving the cargo, he coordinates logistics for cargo preparation and delivery.

Typically, the processing time takes four to six weeks with cargo transportation and delivery taking anywhere from two weeks to several months.

For example, when a donated vehicle arrives at Charleston, the process for delivery is just beginning. Aerial porters work behind the scenes to ensure it is delivered safely and in working order. Most of the smaller donated supplies are packed onto pallets, making it easier for loading and unloading. A few items, like vehicles, require specialists to prepare them for shipment.

"The ambulance shipped to Haiti presented a challenge because we wanted it to arrive in working order," said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Crowe, a load planner with the 437th APS.

Crowe has worked with the Denton Program since 2009 and has overseen the shipment of vehicles ranging from fire trucks to tractors.

"The ambulance's axels had to be shored up. Otherwise, they would start bending under the g-iorces during flight and break," he said.

The aerial porters take their responsibility of preparing donated goods for safe delivery very seriously

"Although they look like a bunch of boxes, I know it's critical that someone a world away receives it," said Staff. Sgt. Duane Olds, a load planner with the 437th APS.

Bailey and the aerial porters who plan, load and deliver the donated items realize their efforts often mean life or death for the recipients.

"This job is so gratifying to me," he said, "and a daily reminder that the American people are truly the most generous people in the world."

(This article was written by Maj. Don Traud, 2nd Lt. Zachary Anderson and Sandra Pishner while attending the Air Force Reserve Command Video, Photo & Writing Workshop June 20-24 at Joint Base Charleston.)
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Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Oct 1, 2011
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