Bases work with FEMA to provide aid

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
  • Air Force Print News
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Air Force provided support in many ways -- some of that from a distance.

Numerous bases worked closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency by providing locations for use as staging points to accelerate the delivery of supplies to hurricane victims. Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., was one of those bases.

Teri Baker, the deputy chief of the 42nd Wing Plans Division, said the cooperation resulted in the processing of 1,289 truckloads that shipped more than 64 million pounds of supplies to those in need. At the same time, it helped improve the working relationship with FEMA.

"They were great to work with," Mrs. Baker said. "They are professionals who work long hours and do a ton of planning."

The two groups continue to work together. FEMA has positioned 100 trucks at Maxwell in preparation for this year's hurricane season. Additionally, it is planning to fund the building of an additional gate so that the trucks do not affect the base's normal, day-to-day traffic.

Marvin Davis, a FEMA public affairs officer, said the people at Maxwell made the mission possible.

"It went very smoothly, and we can't say enough about the cooperation that Maxwell gave us," Mr. Davis said. "They have always been a willing participant in all disaster recovery that FEMA has been involved in, and all that practice helped."

The fact that Maxwell does not have an active-duty flying wing and is mainly a training base helped the base support FEMA, Mrs. Baker said. This was a luxury not available to Barksdale AFB, La., as the base juggled supporting the processing of more than 300 tractor trailers a day, along with a robust flying and training mission.

"Never did this base's normal mission slow down," said Col. Michael Myers, 2nd Mission Support Group commander. "The Barksdale team got together and provided support to that extremely important mission that was nothing like anything they had ever trained."

The colonel said he was amazed with what the people at Barksdale were able to accomplish.

"The men and woman of Barksdale wanted to help hurricane victims in any way possible," Colonel Myers said. "To play a significant part in the end result was very rewarding."

Mr. Davis said he enjoys the bond FEMA and the Air Force share.

"It's great to see government agencies cooperating so closely, and it is amazing what can be done when we work together," he said.