Mon, Aug 25, 2008
Dozens of Navy helicopters evacuated from the Florida coast to
Maxwell Air Force Base Aug. 20 in an effort to avoid the
destruction of Tropical Storm Fay.Navy Cmdr. Chris Fallia said the
decision to evacuate to Maxwell AFB happened when the tropical
storm was projected to veer back inland after hugging the East
Coast, placing Naval Station Mayport -- located near Jacksonville,
Fla. -- directly in the path of the storm.
The Navy has a standing agreement with Maxwell AFB as an
evacuation center. The commander said military installations near
or on the coast use Maxwell AFB to divert from hurricanes because
of its capacity and its location.
"Its one of the best places to come to because of the amount of
billeting, and the ramp has plenty of room," he said. "Rarely will
a hurricane reach this far inland, so that makes Maxwell an ideal
spot to divert resources and personnel."
The Naval wing's mission involves antisubmarine and antisurface
warfare, search and rescue, logistics, and command and control
responsibilities.Alvin Lee, the lead coordinator for airfield
operations at Maxwell AFB, received word from the 42nd Air Base
Wing of the incoming aircraft early in the process.
"Everyone has done what they are scheduled to do," he said. "The
helos came in a little early, but everything has gone really
Until recently, 157 crewmembers and 33 aircraft were sheltering
at Maxwell AFB until Tropical Storm Fay passes the Jacksonville
area. According to the National Hurricane Center, up to 30 inches
of rain were predicted to fall in some areas of the state. [ANN
Thanks Christine Harrison, Air University Public Affairs]
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