USAF Bases Ready for Matthew

Air Force bases along the southeastern US coast are evacuating aircraft and personnel in preparation for Hurricane Matthew. As of Wednesday afternoon, a hurricane warning was in effect for much of the eastern coast of Florida. Patrick AFB, Fla., released all non-essential personnel Wednesday morning, and commanders were authorized to release remaining personnel once mission assets were protected, according to a release. Air Force Reserve Command’s 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick relocated its aircraft, including HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130, in preparation for the storm that is expected to parallel the Florida and Carolina coastlines Thursday night through Sunday morning, according to a release. The wing’s pararescue teams were readied to assist with any relief efforts. On Tuesday, JB Charleston, S.C., announced personnel, their families, and the entire C-17 fleet would be evacuated. The evacuation of the 29 aircraft to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; Barksdale AFB, La.; and Campbell Army Airfield, Ky., began Wednesday, spokeswoman Capt. Leah Davis said in an email. The aircraft will continue operations from those locations. The evacuation order did not apply to personnel assigned to the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Center Atlantic. JB Langley-Eustis, Va., is also relocating aircraft. Col. Pete Fesler, commander of the 1st Fighter Wing, ordered approximately 44 F-22 Raptors and T-38 Talons, and 100 support personnel be moved to Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio, as “purely a prudent measure,” according to an emailed statement. The aircraft began flying out of Langley Wednesday and were expected to be completely moved by Thursday afternoon. As of Wednesday afternoon, Moody AFB, Ga., and Seymour-Johnson AFB, N.C., were in a wait and see mode to determine whether personnel or aircraft would need to be relocated, base spokesmen said.