Forces delivering wheelchairs to Afghanistan

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Warren Comer
  • 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The first 50 of 1,000 donated wheelchairs bound for disabled people in Afghanistan were delivered to Ganci Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, as part of an ongoing humanitarian project.

Baisal Limited, a wheelchair manufacturer in nearby Bishkek, assembled the wheelchairs and then delivered them to coalition hands in mid-December. Venture International, a nonprofit organization in Arizona, funded the project.

A Spanish air force C-130 left Ganci AB on Dec. 19 to deliver the first 50 wheelchairs to Bagram, Afghanistan.

"This is indeed a monumental effort," said Brig. Gen. Jared P. Kennish, commander of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing here. "We're honored to play a part in helping the people of Afghanistan."

U.S. members of the coalition team here took part in receiving and preparing the wheelchairs for the first of several expected humanitarian airlift missions.

Airmen from Ganci's Air Terminal Operations Center and the aerial port flight configured the cargo for transport aboard the coalition aircraft.

"This is an exciting time for us. We really don't do this often at our home station," said 1st Lt. Adam Reynolds, aerial port flight commander.

"Here, we've been asked to load food, supplies, and even the wheelchairs to support humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan," he said.

Coalition aircraft will deliver the remaining wheelchairs in increments of about 50 until the project is completed.

"Bringing the wheelchairs to the disabled people of Afghanistan is just a small part of what this wing can accomplish," said Kennish.

"We're away from home and away from our families, but it's always a good feeling when we do something like this for other people," said the operation center's Tech. Sgt. Christopher Addleman.

"We were a foot deep in snow, but we knew we were helping someone," he added.