Sept. 12, 2008 —
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Nearly 50 members of the Air Force's 615th Contingency Response Wing located here are currently in Texas providing support for impending Hurricane Ike.
The wing began preparing for the hurricane early in the week, awaiting the official call to action.
That call came Tuesday, and the wing – one of only two contingency response wings in the Air Force – responded by rapidly sending Airmen to Texas and to the U.S. Northern Command’s 601st Air and Space Operations Center, Air Mobility Division at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to direct air evacuation efforts in Texas.
U.S. Northern Command is coordinating Department of Defense support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, tribal, state and local response efforts in anticipation of Hurricane Ike and preparing for its imminent landfall in Texas.
Members of the 615th CRW aided in the evacuation of more than 400 patients fromBeaumont, Texas, to the northern part of the state, and are now waiting to provide post-hurricane support as needed.
"This is what we are trained to do – respond rapidly to any crisis, anytime, anywhere,”said Lt. Col. Laura Lenderman, 15th Air Mobility Operations Squadron commander.“The team has worked around the clock coordinating airlift relief efforts and patient evacuation in the Texas communities in the path of the storm."
Although it is not certain what type of support they will provide in the aftermath of the storm, the members of the CRW deployed to Texas are capable of providing command and control assistance at airfields – tracking the location of aircraft and evacuees and providing aerial port assistance – to aid with the loading and unloading of cargo and relief supplies, maintenance assistance, and expert situational awareness, said Lt. Col Erin Skowran, 573rd Global Support Squadron director of operations, whose commander, Lt. Col. Scott Brewer, is leading the 615th CRW deployed team in Texas.
“The CRW team is prepared to assist Texas as needed in the aftermath of the storm,” Skowran added.
The 615th CRW is a tenant unit at Travis Air Force Base, whose mission is to rapidly establish air mobility operations in support of contingency efforts and humanitarian operations. Members of the wing are expertly trained to load and depart to locations worldwide in less than 12 hours after receiving a call to respond.
Prior to Hurricane Ike, the 615th CRW deployed wing members to Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans and Little Rock Air Froce Base, Ark., in support of Hurricane Gustav.