Managing a Hurricane Evacuation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lillian Miller
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Bombers, fighters and refuelers filled the flight line as they seek refuge from force of nature named Hurricane Florence. After the all-clear from their home bases, they departed just as organized as they arrived.

However, it wasn’t just that simple. The more than 60 aircraft and 200 personnel didn’t show up without any preparation. Many organizations were involved to ensure the protection of those mission essential assets. One of those organizations was the 2nd Operation Support Squadron airfield management.

“Our office worked with a minimum of seven different agencies in the planning stage,” said Master Sgt. Nate Strickland, 2nd OSS airfield manager. “To ensure we met the needs of the arriving aircraft and completed the mission needed for the home station B-52 Stratofortresses, we de-conflicted 2nd Bomb Wing mission operations with the aircraft sheduling times to ensure neither were delayed as much as possible.”

Airfield management is a vital key to a Hurricane Evacuation because they are the focal point of coordination to secure critical mission assets.

“Once the first aircraft touched down on the runway the planning phase was done, but our job wasn’t,” Strickland said. “The execution of a movement that large required constant monitoring by airfield management.”

This evacuation increased flight line operations by over 75 percent. This lead to an increase of foreign object debris checks. Everyone was on their toes awaiting orders for the guests, but also taking care of the B-52s.

“Looking at the logistics of parking all of them, that’s airfield management,” said Capt. Amanda Sink, 2nd OSS weather flight commander. “Coordinating, figuring out where to park them, having fuel, fire support, they do it all and fast too. They found out about all of this Sept. 10.”

Overall the hurricane evacuation proved to be successful and all aircraft and personnel have returned to their operations.

“The fact that they can do their job on top of figuring out parking for 60 additional aircraft without blinking an eye, that’s incredible,” Sink said.