315th Airlift Wing continues Haiti aid
By Maj. Wayne Capps, Maj. Wayne Capps
/ Published February 10, 2016
PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI -- Flying humanitarian aid is nothing new for the 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, but today, one Reservist was able to see his civilian career come full circle.
Master Sgt. Ken Hundemer, a 317th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, was with the C-17 Globemaster III delivering more than 21,000 pounds of aid supplies bound for schools, clinics and orphanages in Haiti.
In his civilian career, Hundemer is the operations manager for the Denton Program office, responsible for coordinating humanitarian aid deliveries around the world.
"I coordinate these deliveries for weeks and sometimes months before they are able to make it to their destination," said Hundemer. "So, to be here in my military status and talk to the people on the ground actually receiving it is very fulfilling. They are really appreciative for everything that we do," he said.
The Denton program is a Department of Defense transportation program that works in conjunction with the State Department/U.S. Aid allowing humanitarian aid to be flown aboard U.S. military aircraft on a space available basis.
"These missions are great for our reservists," said the Aircraft Commander, Lt. Col. Mark LaVerne about the multi-leg mission. "Not only are we delivering humanitarian aid, we picked up equipment for the U.S Coast Guard and got some much needed training and evaluations completed," he said.
LaVerne also stressed the importance of the Denton missions.
"Of course they are important because of the what we are delivering, but from an aircrew standpoint, we get very proficient in landing in austere locations, unloading different cargo and dealing with language barriers," he said. "These missions are a win-win for everybody."
The aid supplies were donated by the non-profit group, Gospel for Haiti based in Southern California. The aid consisted of everything from clothing to food to educational materials and will be distributed across the tiny island nation by an organization called Hope for Haiti.
The multi-day mission touched down in four different countries, but the highlight for most of the crew was being able to deliver the humanitarian aid to the people who need it.
"The American people do not realize just how much humanitarian aid the Department of Defense delivers, or the 315th Airlift Wing for that matter," said Hundemer. "The military just don't get enough credit for the good work that they do," he said.