Military Units in Southeast Prepare for Isaac's Impact
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2012 Military units in the southeastern United States are preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac, which is barreling past the Florida Keys and may grow to a hurricane by the time it makes landfall on the northern Gulf coast sometime Tuesday.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials say Isaac will probably strengthen to hurricane force once it gets over the Gulf of Mexico.
State and federal officials have notified military personnel in case they are needed to deal with the effects of the storm.
In Florida, Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency and has activated 30 National Guard personnel. About 5,800 personnel are available in Florida if needed.
In Alabama, there are eight National Guard personnel activated with another 70 soldiers and airmen set for a state mission on Monday. There are 5,114 Guardsmen available if needed in the state.
In Mississippi, National Guard forces are on alert, but there have been no activations yet.
In Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee officials have identified National Guard units that may be needed. Those soldiers and airmen are on a heightened state of awareness.
“The National Guard Bureau’s Crisis Management Element has been alerted to work 24/7 to assist affected states in positioning people and equipment to facilitate the most effective response to the storm,” National Guard officials said.
The Air Force Reserve is moving aircraft out of the way of Isaac. Aircraft from the 919th Special Operations Wing have relocated from Duke Field, Fla., to Fort Campbell, Ky.
The 325th Fighter Wing is sending its F-22 fighters from Tyndall Air Force base, Fla., to Sheppard Air Force Base, Kansas to ride out Hurricane Isaac.
Planes of the 482nd Fighter Wing have relocated from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla. to Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas.
Aircraft from 927th Air Refueling Wing have relocated from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., to Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H., and McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.
On the other side of Florida, aircraft of the 920th Rescue Wing will shelter in place at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. The 403rd Wing will fly its WC-130Js for weather reconnaissance from Ellington Field, Texas.
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the largest military installation currently in the path of Isaac. Base officials have declared Hurricane Condition 3. Officials want base residents to monitor storm reports on local radio and television stations, and call for residents to secure lawn furniture, trash cans, potted plants and other loose objects. Those planning to evacuate should know the route they will take and consider leaving before an evacuation order is issued.