Aerial Port Lends A Helping Hand

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Anthony J. Lesterson
  • 127th Public Affairs
The 127th Wing's Aerial Port Airmen reached out to lend a helping hand at Selfridge ANGB on Jan. 23 aiding the Hazel Park Fire Department in donating a fire truck to the Dominican Republic. 

The Aerial Port processed and packaged the aged fire truck, which is capable of holding 1000 gallons of water, to insure all necessary measures and precautions were taken for a safe journey on a large Air Force aircraft to South America. 

A chain of events took place to prepare the truck for transport starting with safety inspections. A joint inspection of hazardous cargo was performed and approved before being shipped out. All fluids were drained, the brakes were checked to be working, and all instruments were found to be tight and intact. 

The Air Force was able to transport the fire truck for the Hazel Park FD through the Denton Amendment, which allows the use of military aircraft to deliver equipment or supplies to other countries for humanitarian relief, if space allows. This has allowed military aircraft to make use of empty space for the benefit of others, at little or no cost to the Department of the State or Department of Defense. Many training opportunities arise for the Air Force and Air National Guard while helping developing countries in need. 

The Hazel Park Fire Chief, Ray DeWalt, who is a friend of Roman Colon, former Detroit Tiger and a prior resident of the Dominican Republic, took part in the facilitation of the humanitarian event. Colon was visiting DeWalt at the fire station and a discussion arose about the most beneficial way to give up the fire truck. "I decided that this truck would be more beneficial in the Dominican Republic than if we bid it out here," said DeWalt. The two contacted the State Department to start the process with the support of the other Hazel Park fire-fighters. 

Some members of the Hazel Park Fire Department came to Selfridge to witness the farewell of the fire truck that has served them all well over the years. As the fire truck was being carefully placed on the aircraft and tied down for transport the fire fighters watched as a part of their history was prepared for a new destination. 

The 127th Wing has on many occasions provided support for humanitarian operations and will continue to stand ready to help the community. Aerial Port plays a vital role in Air Mobility missions by assuming responsibility of all cargo and personnel aboard military aircraft. This hard-working group of Airmen insures the planes are loaded, the cargo is secured and the passengers are accounted for. The cargo and passengers are tracked until they reach their destination safely. Aerial Port also assists base tenant organizations in getting needed supplies, resources, and manpower to emergency sites.