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459th teams with Denton Program for humanitarian mission

Bahamian Ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Sidney Collie, poses with the Col. Greg Buchanan, 459th ARW Commander, members of the wing and Bahamian embassy staff for a photo April, 21, 2021, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The wing was responsible for the transporting of 100 laptops to The Bahamas as part of a humanitarian mission that would allow underprivileged kids to have refurbished laptops after the effects of Hurricane Dorian destroyed schools on the island. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado/Released)

Bahamian Ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Sidney Collie, poses with the Col. Greg Buchanan, 459th ARW Commander, members of the wing and Bahamian embassy staff for a photo April, 21, 2021, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The wing was responsible for the transporting of 100 laptops to The Bahamas as part of a humanitarian mission that would allow underprivileged kids to have refurbished laptops after the effects of Hurricane Dorian destroyed schools on the island. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado/Released)

Bahamian Ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Sidney Collie, center, and his team exit their vehicles to speak with military members on the Denton Program mission April 21, 2021 at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The 756th Air Refueling Squadron flew 100 donated laptops to The Bahamas as part of a humanitarian mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado/Released)

Bahamian Ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Sidney Collie, center, and his team exit their vehicles to speak with military members on the Denton Program mission April 21, 2021 at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The 756th Air Refueling Squadron flew 100 donated laptops to The Bahamas as part of a humanitarian mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado/Released)

Members of the 756th Air Refueling Squadron load a pallet of laptops onto a KC-135 Stratotanker April 21, 2021, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The squadron was tasked with delivering the laptops to The Bahamas as part of the Denton Program humanitarian mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado/Released)

Members of the 756th Air Refueling Squadron load a pallet of laptops onto a KC-135 Stratotanker April 21, 2021, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The squadron was tasked with delivering the laptops to The Bahamas as part of the Denton Program humanitarian mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cierra Presentado/Released)

Crew members from the 756th Air Refueling Squadron assist Bahamian airport officials with unloading 100 laptops from a KC-135 Stratotanker as part of the Denton Program humanitarian mission April 23, 2021, in The Bahamas. The mission will aid The Bahamas in recovery efforts after the island was struck by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 leaving many schools, homes and business destroyed. (Courtesy photo)

Crew members from the 756th Air Refueling Squadron assist Bahamian airport officials with unloading 100 laptops from a KC-135 Stratotanker as part of the Denton Program humanitarian mission April 23, 2021, in The Bahamas. The mission will aid The Bahamas in recovery efforts after the island was struck by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 leaving many schools, homes and business destroyed. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md.-- The 459th Air Refueling Wing recently teamed with the Denton Program to deliver donated laptops to underprivileged children in The Bahamas.

The purpose of the Denton Program is to allow U.S. based non-governmental sources to transport humanitarian aid at little or no cost to the donor while simultaneously putting extra space on U.S. military transport assets to good use. 

The program is a joint effort administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of State and the Department of Defense. The Denton Program provides transportation for approved humanitarian assistance commodities destined for approved countries like The Bahamas.

In 2019, the Bahamas was hit by a category five hurricane that destroyed most of the island’s schools, businesses and homes. As a result of the damage, many children were left without school supplies such as laptops. The Bahamian Embassy in Washington, D.C. partnered with North Thumberland High School in Virginia and a local Rotary Club to refurbish laptops for the children in need.

“The laptops are fully loaded with touch screens, up to date applications, and are internet ready,” said Ambassador Sidney Collie, the Bahamian Ambassador to the U.S. “The 459th Air Refueling Wing is ready to go and we are grateful for their participation in this.”

The 459th Air Refueling Wing’s 756th Air Refueling Squadron with assistance from the 89th Airlift Wing loaded 100 laptops onto a KC-135 that flew straight to The Bahamas.

“The mission was a great experience, it was my first time executing a humanitarian mission, and it was very rewarding,” said Maj. Benjamin Mattalino, 756th Air Refueling Squadron, KC-135 pilot. “When we landed we were greeted by the local Bahamians; they thanked us for bringing the laptops and explained the devastation Hurricane Dorian and now COVID-19 has caused their country. It was humbling to play a small part in something so significant.”

The 756th ARS was able to pick up the mission due to available cargo space on a planned refueling mission near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The squadron hopes to pick up more humanitarian missions in the future.