Airmen Gear Up for Sandy Relief Efforts

Airmen from near and far were poised to help civil authorities in rescue and recovery efforts on the US East Coast after Tropical Storm Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey on the evening of Oct. 29. Overall, there were already some 6,700 National Guard airmen and soldiers on state active duty on Monday or in the process of activating to support the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia, according to a Pentagon release. Among the extensive Air Force support activities, more than 100 California Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., were preparing to travel to the East Coast with two MC-130P aircraft and two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters to assist, according to a wing release. Ahead of Sandy’s landfall, a rapid-response team of approximately 65 air mobility specialists from JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., repositioned out of the storm’s path to MacDill AFB, Fla., to stand ready to deploy to the affected areas to establish air hubs for moving relief supplies, states a McGuire release. Mobility airmen at Scott AFB, Ill., were ready to plan, schedule, and execute airlift, air refueling, and aeromedical evacuation operations, according to a Scott release. Air Forces Northern deployed emergency preparedness liaison officers to assist civil authorities in preparing for relief efforts. It also dispatched Joint Air Component Coordination Element teams to Boston, Philadelphia, and Trenton, N.J., to manage Air Force relief assets. Further, US Northern Command activated Dover AFB, Del.; McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst; and Westover ARB, Mass., as incident support bases for staging federal support equipment and supplies, states a release.