Nigerois Medical Airlift

by Daniel L. Haulman

Operation Name: Nigerois Medical Airlift
Location: Niger
Date: November 9, 1988
Emergency: Niger lacked dental clinics.
Organizations: 436th Military Airlift Wing, 512th Military Airlift Wing (Associate), and 709th Military Airlift Squadron
Airlifted: One mobile dental clinic and two ambulances.
Aircraft Used: C–5 (one)

In late 1988, the U.S. government granted $1 million to the developing country of Niger, which lacked adequate medical equipment and facilities. Niger used part of its grant to purchase two ambulances and a mobile dental clinic. The size of the cargo required airlift by C–5, so the Department of State asked MAC for a special mission.

Headed by Lt. Col. James Roberts, a 709th Military Airlift Squadron crew from the 512th Military Airlift Wing (Associate) flew the mission, using a 436th Military Airlift Wing C–5. Roberts and his crew left Dover AFB, Delaware, flying through Lajes AB in the Azores for refueling before landing at Niamey, capital of Niger, on November 9. The U.S. ambassador to Niger, Carl Cundiff, met the aircraft and presented the dental clinic and ambulances to Niger in planeside ceremonies. Attendees toured the C–5 after the cargo was unloaded. The airlift demonstrated the commitment of the United States to African countries like Niger.

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