WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The 88th Air Base Wing here is receiving aircraft and their associated aircrews evacuating from several military installations threatened by approaching Hurricane Irma.
The first four of eight F-15 fighter aircraft from the 125th Fighter Wing (Florida Air National Guard), Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida, landed here at about 2:30 p.m., with the remaining four arriving by 5 p.m.
Eight P-8A Poseidons and six P-3C Orions from Patrol Squadron Thirty, Naval Air Station Jacksonville; and three C-17 Globemaster IIIs from the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, are expected to land Sept. 8.
Col. Bradley McDonald, 88 ABW commander, spoke to the importance of providing hurricane relief efforts and assistance. Support already has been provided in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey by the 88 ABW and Reserve partners, the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, he said.
"Our hearts go out to all those impacted by Hurricane Irma and we are grateful that we have the opportunity to help and support those in need," McDonald said. “We have the resources and capabilities to be a safe haven for aircraft, both Air Force and our sister services that need to move out of the potential path of Hurricane Irma.”
Anticipated aircraft seeking safe haven include KC-130s from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, and F/A-18 Hornets from Naval Air Station Paxtuxent River, Maryland.
Additionally, the colonel announced that 100 of the base’s medics and equipment are prepared to deploy as part of an emergency medical clinic capability and are awaiting orders.
Base officials here are closely watching the approaching storm’s track and intensity. Updates and information on additional arriving aircraft will be released when it becomes available.
Air National Guard responds, too
Meanwhile, a team of six personnel from the 269th Combat Communications Squadron, 178th Wing, Springfield-Beckly Air National Guard Base, Springfield, Ohio, left Sept. 7 with a truck and trailer full of equipment to provide communications assistance to responders and anyone in need in Puerto Rico.
Lt. Col. Samantha Adducchio, 269th Combat Communications Squadron commander, said the unit is proud to support people in need but also represent the Air Force and the state of Ohio. She said squadron personnel are glad to be able to take their skills and use them to make a difference in someone’s life.
Capt. Craig Conner, detachment commander, 269th Combat Communications Squadron, is one of the personnel going to Puerto Rico.
“We started preparing at the beginning of this week. We can provide a quick response to enhance much-needed emergency communications,” he said. “It’s something we expect. We understand there is a great need, and we are looking forward to providing assistance.”