USAF C-17 Globemaster Delivers School Buses to Strife Torn Haiti

A USAF C-17 Globemaster loading a yellow school bus.
Photo Credit: USAF

LONDON – A US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Travis Air Force Base has delivered three school buses to strife-torn Haiti as part of a humanitarian assistance program.

On September 24, aircrew from the 349th Air Mobility Wing aircrew out of Travis Air Force Base opened the tail of their C-17 Globemaster III in Port Au Prince, Haiti, and delivered the three yellow school buses.

With ongoing civil strife in Haiti endangering the lives of children simply trying to make their way to and from school each day, providing buses for them became a priority for Those Angels, a non-governmental organization located in Oakland.

Fortunately, when USAF airmen at Travis AFB received Mr. Joseph’s call, they were no strangers to the Denton Humanitarian Assistance Program. According to U.S. Transportation Command, the program helps move humanitarian cargo donated by U.S.-based NGOs “to developing nations to ease human suffering.”

Active-duty aircrews at the 60th AMW have previously delivered numerous aid packages under the program over the past few years, including one that delivered 90,000 pounds of aid to Honduras in August.

A school bus bound for Haiti is loaded aboard a USAF C-17 Globemaster.

Photo Credit: Those Angels Inc.

When it was determined that their aircrews were not available for the mission to Haiti, their Reserve partners at the 349th AMW were called on to deliver the golden payload.

Capt. Neil Brown, USAF 301st Airlift Squadron C-17 pilot, was undergoing upgrade training to become an aircraft commander when this mission came up.

“I was excited to do this,” Captain Brown said. “It is hugely satisfying to know we can work with humanitarian missions like this and help people. This was a no-kidding opportunity to do real good — bringing buses so kids can make it to school.”

School children board the donated bus in Haiti.

Photo Credit: Those Angels Inc.

Buses donated by San Diego Unified Board of Education

Before the USAF Travis AFB answered the call, the San Diego Unified Board of Education did the same by voting to donate 10 decommissioned buses for the children in time for their first day of school on Oct. 3.

“For those of us in education, nothing hurts our hearts more than the suffering of children, whether they live in San Diego or anyplace else,” said Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, San Diego Unified Board president in a recent district newsletter.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide the children of Haiti with a source of hope for years to come, and we hope to inspire others to join us, because San Diego is a generous community.”

“I’m very grateful for Travis Air Force Base stepping up,” said Claude Joseph, Those Angels founder. “We just made one phone call and it took off from there.”

Mr. Joseph said acquiring transportation for aid is one of the greatest difficulties NGOs face, but through the Denton Program and Airmen who are committed to making a difference, “thousands of students have been safely taken back and forth to school,” since their humanitarian efforts began.

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