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Hurricane Katrina
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Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

DMSP image of Katrina making landfall
29 August 2005, click image to enlarge

Message from CMS Lee Jacob

Just a little update about the school house at Keesler.  The following is an excerpt from and email:
- All ISC students are being evacuated to Sheppard.  Only taking what they can fit in a duffle bag--personal items remain behind until they can get boxed and sent out to them.  Schoolhouse leadership is not accompanying them as they are remaining in Biloxi--this seemed to concern Lt Col Sanjume.  After asking if we could do anything, she said, "just take care of the Airmen."  There are no plans to conduct training at this time.     

- All other students (CWT, WOC) are being sent to gaining/losing units

- Trainers and other permanent party members are tending to family needs.  As we know, Biloxi is a mess.  There are initial indications that base personnel will not only focus on getting base up and running, but also on getting community on its feet.  Lt Col Sanjume was making the point that this may increase timeline for getting schoolhouse up and running.

- Dorms held up very well.  Schoolhouse has water damage as observation deck was shattered and water penetrated lower floors--no estimate of damage to equipment.

Obviously, shutting down the pipeline will reverberate across AFW.  Air Staff/AFWA stand ready to engage on any potential COAs.

Just wanted folks to know what was going on.  Cheers, Jake

More on what happened as Keesler met Katrina

Here's what has happened to our own USAF brethren at Keesler AFB, Gulfport MS:

- Base housing was largely destroyed by a 25 foot wave
- There's 4 feet of mud in Maj Gen Utterback's house (2 AF/CC)
- MSG/CC house burned to the ground (gas leak caught fire)
- 6000 USAF members and their families are living in shelters
- The power will be out there for at least 3 weeks
- The 2nd largest USAF hospital (at Keesler) is closed
-- Seawater got into the generator and they have no power
- Commissary/BX mostly destroyed
- Runway is operational; it's the only open airfield in the area
-- Day/VFR conditions only
- Gulfport Airport is closed for the foreseeable future
- The fence around the base is severely damaged
- Keesler had looters last night
-- Maxwell AFB is sending an SF detachment to reinforce the Keesler SF
- Parts of I-10 are under water; at least one major bridge is down
- Keesler has almost no communications (landline or cell)
-- They are relying primarily on radios

Heard that the Hurricane Hunters evacuated, but may have lost a C-130J that they couldn't take with them -- it was still in heavy maintenance.
The Air Force Weather Agency also put out a press release yesterday showing the nightime visual DMSP images showing the difference before and after Katrina with respect to city lights.  It is at

   Keesler, Columbus survive Katrina story from  

Images from Keesler DURING storm

Keesler Web site

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Keesler and Columbus Survive Katrina
Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., survived a direct hit by Hurricane Katrina, but initial estimates show it suffered extensive damage to industrial and housing areas. At Columbus AFB, Miss., about 290 miles north of Keesler, base officials said the pilot training base suffered only moderate damage to one building. However, assessment crews are just starting to evaluate the damage there. There were no deaths or injuries at either base, according to preliminary reports by base officials. Click here for story.

For more information on how you can help, go to the Air Force Association website:

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- As Hurricane Katrina struck the base, rising waters swallowed parked cars. The base and the 6,000 sheltered military students, permanent party, civilians and their families survived the Category 4 hurricane with no casualties. The initial damage was catastrophic to base infrastructure. The base is currently in the assessment and recovery stage. (U.S. Air Force photo)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Record low pressure, 125 mph winds and high tides converged to create a storm surge that raised the level of the Back Bay nearly 30 feet above normal. This restroom lies between the 12th and 13th holes on back nine of the golf course here. (U.S. Air Force photo)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - The 14th Logistics Readiness Division mobility processing hangar was the only building to receive moderate roof damage from Hurricane Katrina. Although the hurricane did not pass directly over the base, the base sustained more than $765,000 in damage. Maximum winds reached 50 knots. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Jeremy Cotton)

AF Clarifies Hurricane Evacuation Entitlements
The Air Force wants to ensure that Airmen, their families and Department of Defense civilian employees evacuated during Hurricane Katrina are aware they may be eligible for certain entitlements. Eligible members may be entitled to limited evacuation allowances and expenses for lodging, transportation, meals and incidentals. The allowances can be viewed by visiting the Air Force Personnel Center's Personnel Readiness Web site at

Military Providing Full-Scale Response to Hurricane Relief Effort
Joint Task Force Katrina set up Aug. 31 at Camp Shelby, Miss., as the Defense Department's focal point to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's relief efforts along the Gulf Coast. Click here for story.

Air Force Helping Hurricane Victims
Units and people from across the Air Force are supporting FEMA and helping victims of Hurricane Katrina from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Helicopters from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., flew to Jackson Miss., Aug. 30 carrying FEMA assessment teams to areas affected by the hurricane. A C-130J transport aircraft from the 403rd Wing at Keesler AFB, Miss., flying out of Asheville, N.C., returned home to the base delivering supplies to the base hospital. The 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell AFB, Ala., geared up two C-130s, aircrews and aeromedical evacuation people to help move people. A C-5 Galaxy from the 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB Calif. and a C-17 Globe Master III from the 305th AMW, McGuire AFB, NJ transported tanker airlift control elements and contingency support groups to Gulfport and New Orleans International Airports respectively. Another C-5 from Travis helped search and rescue teams from California get to the affected area.

Fifteen HH-60s helicopters and crews from the 347th Rescue Wing at Moody AFB, Ga., and the 16th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field., Fla have been positioned near the affected area in Jackson, Miss., and crews were credited with saving stranded survivors of the hurricane. Additionally, Critical Care Air Transport teams and an obstetrics team from Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, helped patients and expectant mothers evacuate Keesler AFB, Miss., on Tuesday. The patients and pregnant women were evacuated to Wilford Hall.

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZ - Approximately 100 Airmen and four HH-60G "Pave Hawk" helicopters from the 55th Rescue Squadron headed to Jackson, Miss., to conduct search and rescue missions in support of hurricane relief efforts. This deployment is in addition to the more than 20 Airmen from the 943rd Rescue Group who departed earlier to conduct rescue missions in the region hit by Hurricane Katrina.

LAFAYETTE, La. -- Members of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services Special Operation Urban Search and Rescue team unload emergency equipment here from a C-5 Galaxy from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., on Aug. 30. The vehicle will be used for Hurricane Katrina relief operations in Mississippi and Louisiana. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Candy Knight)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, ILL - The Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott started generating missions that Air Mobility Command aircrews will fly supporting Hurricane Katrina relief operations in Louisiana and Mississippi. FEMA, through Northern Command and U.S. Transportation Command, asked for airlift support to fly relief supplies to the stricken region. "We've already tasked two aeromedical evacuation airlift missions to fly from Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., to Lackland AFB, Tex." , said Col. Jeff Franklin, the center controller working hurricane relief mission taskings. "In addition, AMC has been tasked to fly five other strategic airlift missions into Lafayette Regional Airport in Lafayette, La. Four of those are C-5 (Galaxys) and the other is a C-17 (Globemaster III)."

A mix of total force Airmen from active-duty, Guard and Reserve bases nationwide are flying the missions. They will move everything from inflatable boats to urban search and rescue team members and their equipment. Because airports and airfields in the Biloxi and New Orleans areas are without power because of extensive damage from the hurricane's high winds, rain and flooding, aircraft are primarily flying cargo and people into Lafayette, located northwest of the coastal areas.

The 615th Contingency Response Wing at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., is flying into Lafayette on the first C-5 Galaxy aircraft. "They will serve as an advance team to help receive the aircraft and cargo, and will stay there throughout," Colonel Franklin said.

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - Air Force Special Operations Command flew an MC-130 aircraft into New Orleans International Airport with a team of special operations forces to work to reopen the runway.

A team of combat controllers and a small medical team will work to establish operations at the airport, which has no electricity or air traffic control. Combat controllers are certified air traffic controllers and special operators who can open airfields deep behind enemy lines or in other hazardous areas. The combat controllers will set self-powered lights and other navigational aids, then function as air traffic controllers with portable radios so that other military aircraft can land and help evacuate ill or injured persons from the New Orleans area.

AFSOC has also flown more than 34 aircraft to Jackson, Miss., to support Hurricane Katrina relief. The deployed aircraft include 19 HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters specifically designed to find and recover individuals in hazardous areas. AFSOC has also deployed 11 C-130 aircraft with various special mission capabilities, including helicopter refueling and the ability to operate from dirt or unimproved airfields.

AFSOC has sent pararescuemen and combat controllers to Jackson to work in conjunction with the aircraft. Pararescuemen are highly trained emergency medical technician special operators. Combat controllers and pararescuemen are accustomed to operating in the most difficult and hostile conditions and are trained in numerous special operations skills such as SCUBA and parachute operations.

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Beale sent a U-2 Dragonlady out to collect needed imagery for disaster relief efforts. The Optical Bar Camera, or film-based imagery equipment used, is ideal for photographing very large areas with high resolution. In a six-hour mission, a U-2 employing the OBC can collect imagery over 90,000 square nautical miles.

4th Air Wing-Texas State Guard - Airmen of the 4th Air Wing have been called to unpaid state active duty to support the relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The airmen are serving as Red Cross shelter managers in the Beaumont-Port Arthur, Orange and Baytown, TX area. They are part of a 200-person contingent of the Texas State Guard from across the state that has been activated for the effort. All the air wing personnel are trained shelter managers in addition to being fully qualified security forces technicians. They serve a 4 hour on 4 hour off duty schedule, 24 hours per day providing for the needs of the shelter residents.

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - Airmen and their families depart a C-17 Globemaster III after being evacuated from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., in the wake of Hurricane Katrina here Aug. 30. The C-17 and aircrew are from the Mississippi Air National Guard. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Heather M. Norris)

Guard, NORTHCOM respond to Hurricane Aftermath
Twenty-four hours after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, about 7,500 National Guardsmen from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi were on duty supporting civil authorities, distributing generators, providing medical care, and setting up shelters for displaced residents. In addition, National Guard units and servicemembers in 17 more states were on standby, ready to provide assistance as required in the wake of extensive damage, rising floodwaters, and power and communications outages throughout the region. Click here for story.


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