(Vocus) September 1, 2008
The Air Force and Air Mobility Command have evacuated more than 3,100 passengers from the Gulf Coast in preparation for Hurricane Gustav, using a combination of Active duty, Air Force Reserve and commercially-contracted flights. This includes more than 120 patients aeromedically evacuated to safety.
To date, the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., has coordinated a total of 47 flights carrying passengers. Airlift operations are expected to continue until weather conditions make it unsafe to fly. The TACC plans, schedules and tracks tanker, airlift and aeromedical evacuation aircraft worldwide and is capable of seamlessly transitioning from day-to-day operations to contingency support or disaster relief.
Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH) at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is the Air Force organization responsible for providing Air Force resources to USNORTHCOM for Defense Support of Civil Authorities.
"We're ready and leaning forward to anticipate mission assignments," said Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow, 1st Air Force (AFNORTH) commander. "We bring a wealth of military capabilities to save lives, reduce suffering and minimize property damage."
Distinctive Air Force support missions during defense support to civilian authorities (DSCA) include air transport, search and rescue, medical evacuation, incident awareness and disaster assessment through imagery and full motion video, general personnel evacuation, airspace safety and control, and aerial spray pest control.
Keesler AFB, MS., is the only base to order all non-storm essential Keesler employees to evacuate with family members. 18 C-130J's from the 403rd Air Reserve Wing at Keesler AFB have been evacuated. Ten of these aircraft are known as the "Hurricane Hunters" and are currently operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base south of Miami, Fla. They have been an invaluable asset flying through Hurricane GUSTAV helping provide timely weather information from inside the storm.