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Mobility Airmen deliver a mission of love to Guatemala

a mission of love

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Traci Keller, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs broadcast journalist, shares a moment with a local child after covering the delivery of emergency response vehicles through the Denton Program at La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City, Guatemala, April 20, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The emergency vehicles were donated by the Mission of Love Foundation, they are the largest user of the Denton Program, having delivered medical, relief and humanitarian supplies to needy communities throughout the world. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Andrew Flint, 21st Airlift Squadron loadmaster, directs a firetruck off of a C-17 Globemaster III at La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City, Guatemala, April 20, 2018 during a Denton Program mission. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The emergency vehicles were donated by the Mission of Love Foundation, they are the largest user of the Denton Program, having delivered medical, relief and humanitarian supplies to needy communities throughout the world. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from the 21st Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base sits on the flight line after arriving at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, April 19, 2018, to pick up Denton Program cargo. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DoD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis, and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and the DoD. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love

An indigenous child with cancer stands on a firetruck that was delivered to Guatemala City, Guatemala by the 21st Airlift Squadron through a Mission of Love Foundation and the Denton Program, April 20, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The emergency vehicles were donated by the Mission of Love Foundation, they are the largest user of the Denton Program, having delivered medical, relief and humanitarian supplies to needy communities throughout the world. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Corey Akiyama, left, and Maj. Geno Salazar both 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilots, fly Denton Program emergency response vehicles to La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City, Guatemala, April 20, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The emergency vehicles were donated by the Mission of Love Foundation, they are the largest user of the Denton Program, having delivered medical, relief and humanitarian supplies to needy communities throughout the world. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Corey Akiyama, 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot, flies Denton Program emergency response vehicles to La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City, Guatemala, April 20, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The emergency vehicles were donated by the Mission of Love Foundation, they are the largest user of the Denton Program, having delivered medical, relief and humanitarian supplies to needy communities throughout the world. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love

U.S. Air Force Reserve Airmen secure a Denton Program emergency response vehicle at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, April 20, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DoD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis, and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and the DoD. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Adam Bodendorfer, 76th Aerial Port Squadron, waits to chain down a Denton Program emergency response vehicle at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, April 20, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DoD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis, and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and the DoD. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Andrew Flint, 21st Airlift Squadron loadmaster, completes pre-flight checks before leaving Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to deliver Denton Program cargo to Guatemala, April 19, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DoD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis, and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and the DoD. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love
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U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Corey Akiyama, 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot, flies en route to Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio to pick up Denton Program emergency response vehicles to deliver to Guatemala City, Guatemala, April 20, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The emergency vehicles were donated by the Mission of Love Foundation, they are the largest user of the Denton Program, having delivered medical, relief and humanitarian supplies to needy communities throughout the world. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. David Shrout, 860th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief, performs a post flight inspection on a C-17 Globemaster III during a Denton Program mission at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, April 19, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DoD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis, and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and the DoD. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love
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A C-130 taxis to takeoff as a Denton Program emergency response vehicle is loaded onto a 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio to deliver to Guatemala, April 20, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DoD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis, and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and the DoD. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love
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U.S. Air Force Maj. Geno Salazar, 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot, flies en route to pick up Denton Program cargo from Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio to deliver to Guatemala, April 19, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DoD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis, and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and the DoD. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

a mission of love
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U.S. Air Force Maj. Derik Neitz, 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot, completes pre flight checks prior to leaving Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to deliver Denton Program cargo to Guatemala, April 19, 2018. The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based Non-Governmental Organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DoD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis, and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and the DoD. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Joey Swafford)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

When emergencies happen in the U.S., the sirens of fire trucks and ambulances coming to the rescue can be comforting. Thanks to a C-17 Globemaster III crew from Travis Air Force Base, California, indigenous Mayans in Tecpan, Guatemala, will now hear that same sound of hope and help.

The crew made up of Airmen assigned to the 21st Airlift Squadron and the 860th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron delivered the ambulance and fire truck to Guatemala City, Guatemala, April 20, 2018. They were donated by the Mission of Love Foundation and shipped through the Denton Program.

The Denton Program is a Department of Defense transportation program that moves humanitarian cargo, donated by U.S. based non-governmental organizations to developing nations to ease human suffering. The approved cargo is transported by DOD land, air or sea assets on a space-available basis and is managed by the U.S. Department of State and DOD.

“This is the most rewarding part of our jobs to have the opportunity like this where we get to help out those who need it,” said Staff Sgt. J.R. King, 21st Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “Humanitarian cargo like what we are delivering is important. We see vehicles like these every day in the U.S., but for less fortunate countries, they may not have the access or the luxury of having these resources. Missions like these are rewarding and hold a special place in my heart.”

The Mission of Love Foundation has been working in Guatemala for the past 24 years and are the largest user of the Denton Program, having delivered medical equipment, relief and humanitarian supplies to needy communities throughout the world.

“We work on five continents with an all-volunteer force,” said Kathleen Price, Mission of Love Foundation founder and director. “It is truly a mission of love unconditionally, and with that, all things are possible. With a group of volunteers, the Denton Program and the Air Force together are making this possible for those in need. I couldn’t do it alone. I am just a facilitator.”

It was a team effort to deliver the emergency response vehicles, and an important part of that team was the Air Force Reserve Airmen at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, that helped package and load the vehicles.

“The reservist packaged everything up and helped us load it up to an active duty plane to fly down to Guatemala,” said Maj. Derik Neitz, 21st Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III pilot. “Once in Guatemala, we were met by local entities there and Mission of Love. It has been neat to see all the different organizations work together.”

The emergency response vehicles are not the typical cargo that Travis Airmen deliver, so they came with challenges that the crew worked through.

“A lot of us have flown together before,” said Neitz. “Our enlisted crew is very experienced, and we needed that on this mission, it is an unusual upload with no tie down rings on the vehicles.”

“They say that iron sharpens iron,” said King. “Working with these guys is a good opportunity to help me learn and better myself. A big part of a successful mission is teamwork and trusting each other; our jobs can get hectic. There are always three or four things going on at a time, and you have to trust your teammates that they are going to get the job done.”

A lot of planning has gone into making this mission a success.

“We did all the flight planning ourselves starting two or three months ago,” said Neitz. “We also worked with some 621st Contingency Response Wing Airmen at Travis who helped with the accommodations and networking with people in Guatemala, so we knew who to talk with when we arrived.”

All the planning paid off and the Airmen were able to deliver the emergency response vehicles to a thankful reception in Guatemala.

"I’ve been working on this for a year," said Price. “Just to know the plane was flying here today with this aid for these beautiful indigenous people made my heart sing. You’re not here to save the world, but you are here to touch the hands within your reach. I appreciate what the Air Force has done here today."

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