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403rd Wing evacuates aircraft to JBSA, continues to fly amid hurricanes

Staff Sgt. Zachary Faith, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs a pre-flight check on a C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft Aug. 25 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Eight C-130Js evacuated from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to avoid damage from Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.

Staff Sgt. Zachary Faith, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs a pre-flight check on a C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft Aug. 25 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Eight C-130Js evacuated from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to avoid damage from Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.

Staff Sgt. Zachary Faith, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs a pre-flight check on a C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft Aug. 25 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Eight C-130Js evacuated from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to avoid damage from Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.

Staff Sgt. Zachary Faith, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs a pre-flight check on a C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft Aug. 25 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Eight C-130Js evacuated from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to avoid damage from Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.

Staff Sgt. Zachary Faith, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs a pre-flight check on a C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft Aug. 25 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Eight C-130Js evacuated from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to avoid damage from Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.

Staff Sgt. Zachary Faith, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, performs a pre-flight check on a C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft Aug. 25 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Eight C-130Js evacuated from Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to avoid damage from Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura.

The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, relocated its aircraft today as Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 815th Airlift Squadron relocated their aircraft to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will continue flying missions into both storms from Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, relocated its aircraft today as Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 815th Airlift Squadron relocated their aircraft to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will continue flying missions into both storms from Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, relocated its aircraft today as Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will continue flying missions into both storms from Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, relocated its aircraft today as Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will continue flying missions into both storms from Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, relocated its aircraft today Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 815th Airlift Squadron relocated their aircraft to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will continue flying missions into both storms from Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, relocated its aircraft today Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 815th Airlift Squadron relocated their aircraft to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will continue flying missions into both storms from Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, relocated its aircraft today as Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 815th Airlift Squadron relocated their aircraft to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will continue flying missions into both storms from Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

The Air Force Reserve's 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, relocated its aircraft today as Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 815th Airlift Squadron relocated their aircraft to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron will continue flying missions into both storms from Atlantic Aviation Charleston International Airport, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

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.”

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