Airmen document Hurricane Irma with Hurricane Hunters
By Maj. Hamilton B. Underwood, 4th Combat Camera Squadron
/ Published September 12, 2017
JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- It’s not often that Air Force reservists arrive at Unit Training Assembly “weekend drill,” and in short order find themselves flying into the eye of a hurricane, but that’s exactly what happened to Staff Sgts. Kyle Brasier and Corban Lundborg with the 4th Combat Camera Squadron, Joint Base Charleston.
The two combat camera Reserve Airmen were en route from their homes in Stevensville, Michigan and Venice, California, respectively, when they were informed the UTA had been postponed due to the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma. They arrived as the evacuation order was issued and immediately attempted to book a return flight home, but were diverted to the hurricane instead of away from it.
Air Force Reserve Command rerouted them to Keesler Air Force Base, Missisippi, where they joined their fellow Reserve Airmen of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, "The Hurricane Hunters.” Brasier and Lundborg soon found themselves in a WC-130J Super Hercules flying through the eye of Hurricane Irma, documenting efforts to collect weather data using externally dropped sensors.
The sensors provide accurate weather data to the National Hurricane Center. Low-level, real-time data collection in Atlantic and Pacific Ocean tropical weather systems can be a vital mission that is unique capability to the Air Force Reserve.
An artist who makes his living working in multiple mediums, Lundborg recently joined the 4th CTCS.
“This is exactly why I joined combat camera,” he said. “I can combine my talent for visual storytelling and my desire to serve my country into a single action that has an immediate impact. ”
Lundborg’s video has been picked up by multiple media organizations reaching millions and providing near real-time imagery.
A photojournalist who recently completed back-to-back missions in support of exercises Mobility Guardian and Patriot Warrior, Brasier was ready for the next opportunity to tell the Air Force story.
“I take tremendous pride in being an Air Force reservist and when I can tell the Citizen Airmen, it’s awesome,” said Brasier. “These Hurricane Hunters have a vital mission that I enjoyed documenting.”
The two flew two missions passing through the eye of Hurricane Irma eight times before heading home after 22 hours of flight time with the 53rd WRS.