HomeNewsArticle Display

Dobbins ARB provides hurricane evacuation support

An F-5 taxis on the flightline at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. Sept. 6, 2017. The aircraft arrived from Key West Naval Air Station, Fla. to avoid being in the path of Hurricane Irma. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Peek)

An F-5 Tiger II taxis on the flightline at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. Sept. 6, 2017. The aircraft arrived from Key West Naval Air Station, Fla. to avoid being in the path of Hurricane Irma. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Peek)

Evacuees retrieve their luggage from the flightline at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. Sept. 6, 2017. The aircraft carried civilian and contract Department of Defense personnel who were evacuated from the Caribbean in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. (U.S. Air Force photo/Don Peek)

Evacuees retrieve their luggage from the flightline at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. Sept. 6, 2017. The aircraft carried civilian and contract Defense Department personnel who were evacuated from the Caribbean in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. (U.S. Air Force photo by Don Peek)

DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- Late on the evening of Sept. 6, 2017, the first of several C-130 Super Hercules carrying evacuees landed at the Dobbins Air Reserve Base flight line. What began as a typical aircraft arrival scene with airfield managers guiding the planes in, became a bit more unique as Marine Corps aircrews offloaded suitcases of different shapes and colors and arranged them in rows on the flight line. Families exited the aircraft – some with children and pets – and made their way off the flight line, beginning the next leg of their long journey to safety.

Dobbins ARB served as a transportation hub for civilian and contract Defense Department personnel, who were evacuated from the Caribbean and flown here Sept. 6 and 7, to escape the path of Hurricane Irma.

“Once they arrived in the states, they needed somewhere to go to transit on to their next station, so that’s where the Air Force came in,” said Maj. Keith Callahan, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron director of operations. “We were able to provide that transit hub for them.”

Callahan explained the evacuation process was a “total force initiative,” involving several branches to make the operation a success.

The Navy managed the overall logistics of moving these evacuees to a safe location, employing Marine Corps C-130s and its aircrew to fly the personnel and their belongings to Dobbins ARB. Members of the 94th LRS processed about 180 evacuees over the two-day evacuation. This process helped maintain accountability of the evacuees before they were transported to temporary lodging off base, he said.

The squadron also gained valuable experience in managing people and cargo they aren’t necessarily accustomed to. In normal operations, the 94th LRS typically processes adult passengers and the cargo required to perform the mission, whether it be a deployment or a temporary assignment. For the evacuation, however, they found themselves processing children and pets, which was a new experience, said Callahan.

In addition to receiving evacuees, the base also received aircraft from Florida bases in the path of the storm. These included F-5 Tiger II’s from Key West Naval Air Station, Florida; C-130 Hercules and HH-60 Pave Hawks from Patrick Air Force Base, Florida and Cessna aircraft from Jacksonville and Tampa.

Timing proved to be a major challenge for the evacuation. The spontaneous nature of natural disasters makes it difficult to anticipate exact numbers and timelines for transporting people and cargo.

“We really didn’t have any time to plan,” said Ryan Firth, an evacuee. “We thought we were going to be evacuated the day after, but no, thank God, we had the military show up.”

“These folks were given ten minutes’ notice,” Callahan said, regarding the evacuees’ experience leaving the Caribbean. “They thought they were going to Florida potentially and then they didn’t know where they were going. Same thing for the F-5s … so the information is constantly changing. So that means we here at Dobbins (ARB) have to constantly react, and that’s where we have a great team here that is well trained. They know their jobs. They’ve been able to exercise it in the past. So now when it comes time, it’s very easy for them to use that training to adjust very quickly and to make the plan change to fit the new information.”

Ultimately, Dobbins ARB managed these challenges effectively as the evacuees were quickly processed and transported onward to locations where they will ride out the storm.

“Everybody’s training and everybody’s willingness, everybody’s desire to help folks who needed it – especially our brethren from other services – everybody jumped in and was willing to help and really made it happen,” said Callahan.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @USAmbNATO: I am very proud of our 🇺🇸 @usairforce airmen from the 57th Rescue Squadron who have been in 🇮🇹 #Italy training personnel rec…
RT @DVIDSHub: The #A10 Thunderbolt II is a slow yet maneuverable aircraft capable of taking and throwing hits that would render other aircr…
RT @AETCommand: There are few missions requiring years to plan/prep, only to be accomplished in less than 6 seconds. Courtesy @AirmanMagaz
Combat rescue helicopter pilots and crew undergo intensive underwater-egress training to prepare for worst-case sce… https://t.co/Z9z1kHAmay
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Look at this amazing photo of @usairforce and @RCAF_ARC C-130 Hercules aircraft taking off from #LittleRockAirForceBase. @…
Check out what's happening around the #AirForce this week! https://t.co/MCM1NiVAEN
Ice, Ice Baby ❄️❄️🌬️ Fire protection specialists at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska practice self-recover… https://t.co/tSSMzACZyz
Great job @CivilAirPatrol. 9 lives saved this year! https://t.co/43ICzmOMaX
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Privileged to spend time at our annual Weapons & Tactics Conference @NellisAFB where leaders of our combat power meet…
RT @AETCommand: Thanks @EsperDoD for visiting our 479th Flying Training Group team at @NASPCOLA! #DYK the group is the @usairforce's only…
RT @theF35JPO: Because we all love a bit of F-35 #slowmo. Watch an #F35 release flares in #slowmotion at @EdwardsAFB. ⚡ https://t.co/AIRCGL…
RT @US_SOCEUR: U.S. #airmen assigned to the 352d Special Operations Wing fly a CV-22B #Osprey aircraft over #Hungary. https://t.co/sSmjq90S…
RT @HQ_AFMC: It's another #NightAtTheMuseum event at the @AFmuseum this Friday when a special evening to celebrate the final days of the Ca…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: The U.S. & #Romania have a standing partnership to address issues of regional & global security. To advance those interests,…
Our Airmen train to perform even when conditions get harsh. @435AEW defenders used self-aid & buddy care, vehicle… https://t.co/ZXVzSUBzsK
Ohio @AirNatlGuard, @178thWing and @179AW sent Disaster Relief Beddown Sets to Puerto Rico to aid earthquake relief… https://t.co/qTGlDasRdY
RT @AFResearchLab: Our 711th Human Performance Wing is studying Airmen's sleeping habits to improve performance and readiness to further th…
.@NellisAFB Airmen help prep an @AusAirForce C-17 Globemaster III to receive fire suppressant needed to aid in the… https://t.co/fRiXN5lNh0
RT @USSOCOM: SOF Truth III: Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced. It takes years to train operational units to the level of pr…