Jeanne Sends Hurricane Hunters Home
Air Force Reserve Command's Hurricane Hunters are being hunted
again. This time "Jeanne" is chasing them out of Homestead Air
Reserve Base (FL) and forcing them to return to Keesler Air Force
About 120 reservists, 15 WC-130 Hercules weather reconnaissance
aircraft and three C-130 Hercules aircraft from the 403rd Wing
moved to Homestead on Sept. 13 when Hurricane Ivan threatened the
Gulf Coast and Keesler AFB.
It was fortuitous that we were able to track both storms from
one base, said Lt. Col. Douglas Lipscombe, a weather reconnaissance
officer with the wing's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. Now
we have to get off Homestead and go home to Keesler. We've been in
communication with people at Keesler and should have all of our
birds back home by Sept. 18.
The Hurricane Hunters flew their last Hurricane Ivan mission
early Sept. 16.
The crew followed the storm right up to the beach (near Gulf
Shores, Ala.) and stopped because we don't fly over land, the
The reservists flew one mission Sept. 14 tracking Tropical Storm
Jeanne. The next day they started scheduling two flights and will
go to three flights a day after the storm passes the Bahamas.
This is what we do every hurricane season, Colonel Lipscombe
said. It's equivalent to six to 10 operational readiness inspection
deployments a year. A three-ship deployment with operators,
maintainers and staff -- that's our life. We're used to it. Our
deployments may be short term, but we make many of them per
Officials at the National Hurricane Center in Miami forecasted
an above-average storm year in 2004.
All indications point to this year living up to the forecast,
Colonel Lipscombe said. We will have to wait until the end of the
season to know if this is a record-setting year.
Colonel Lipscombe said hurricane seasons run in 30- to 40-year
"We are in a busy cycle," he said.