403rd Wing evacuates aircraft to JBSA, continues to fly amid hurricanes
By Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo, 403rd Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 27, 2020
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Mississippi --
The Air Force Reserve’s 403rd Wing relocated its 20 aircraft Aug. 23 as a pair of hurricanes made their way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The wing’s 815th Airlift Squadron, a tactical airlift unit, flew their C-130J Super Hercules to Joint Base San Antonio and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, or Hurricane Hunters, relocated their WC-130Js and operations to Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina, where they will continue to fly both storms and provide weather information to the National Hurricane Center, which greatly improves their intensity and track forecasts.
Marco became a hurricane Aug. 23 and is forecasted to make landfall on the Louisiana coast Aug. 24, and Laura also became a hurricane and impacted the Gulf Coast Aug. 25, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“We are moving aircraft as a precautionary measure ahead of these storms for two reasons. First, to protect the aircraft from damage, and second, so we can continue to fly storm reconnaissance missions,” said Col. Jeffrey A. Van Dootingh, 403rd Wing vice commander. “It’s been an unprecedented year just keeping the mission going while mitigating the impacts of COVID. Now for the first time in history, we could have two hurricanes simultaneously in the Gulf of Mexico. Whatever Mother Nature and 2020 bring our way we have been able to get the mission accomplished thanks to our outstanding Airmen who ensure we are always ready.”