AFOATS organizations hit hard by Katrina
By Ann Easterling, Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools
/ Published October 16, 2006
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AETCNS) -- Air Force Officer Accession and Training School officials here are assessing the damage to Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps detachments and Junior ROTC units affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Twenty-five Air Force JROTC units located in high schools in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama are potentially affected. Of the 70 instructors assigned to those units, only 25 have been accounted for. Reports have confirmed that at least 13 of the 25 high schools were totally destroyed.
Capt. John McIntyre, operations officer for AFJROTC Headquarters here said, "We are assessing what it is going to take to reestablish those units in terms of uniforms, text books and supplies, but our primary concern right now is locating those instructors we have not heard from."
Captain McIntyre said the units in and around the New Orleans area have seen the most devastation. Only a few of the instructors assigned to those units have reported in. "We are concerned about the safety of our instructors and their families and hope when they have an opportunity they will be in touch with us by either telephone or e-mail," he said.
Six AFROTC detachments within the area were affected by the hurricane with Tulane University in New Orleans being hit the hardest. Classes were set to begin at Tulane on Aug. 31 which meant that only about half of the cadets had reported to the
detachment. The detachment staff has been accounted for and about 80 percent
of the 45 to 50 cadets they were expecting. Tulane's AFROTC detachment commander, Col. Ben Anderson, said efforts are ongoing to make contact with everyone. He also said reports from the university indicate it will be closed for at least two months. Colonel Anderson said he is assisting cadets with temporary transfers to other universities such as Syracuse, St. Louis, Louisiana State University, and Louisiana Tech.
Other AFROTC detachments affected were Jackson State and the University of Southern Mississippi in Mississippi, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala., and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. These universities sustained minor to medium damage and all hope to be operational in about two weeks.
Brig. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, Air Force Officer and Accession Training Schools commander, said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of people who have lost loved ones and homes in the hurricane. We are especially concerned for the JROTC instructors and ROTC cadets we haven't been able to make contact with and hope to hear from them soon."
To contact AFOATS Headquarters, call toll-free at 1-866-235-7682, ext. 3-7513 for JROTC, and ext. 3-9410 for ROTC.