Dover AFB prepares for hurricane season

  • Published
  • By Roland Balik
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Team Dover prepared for hurricane season by generating seven C-5M Super Galaxy and six C-17 Globemaster III hurricane evacuation missions during an exercise at Dover Air Force Base, June 5-6.

The Atlantic hurricane season typically runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with storms possibly developing before or after the observed six-month period.

In a real-world hurricane weather event, aircraft assigned to Dover AFB are flown to stateside locations away from the hurricane’s path or sent on real-world missions prior to the arrival of a hurricane.

Hurricane evacuation exercises, also known as HURREVACs, hone Airmen’s ability to quickly generate aircraft to depart Dover AFB or secure aircraft and assets in hangars.

“Overall, the event was a success; generating and launching 13 aircraft in a single day and accounting for and securing 100% of Dover assigned tails,” said Maj. Michael Connelly, 436th Airlift Wing Inspector General chief of wing exercises. “While it showed Dover AFB is ready to respond to a major weather event, these exercises also allow us to continually update and improve upon our plans and processes to reflect the latest information and best practices across all base agencies and our local, state and federal partners.”

As a part of the exercise, 436th Mission Generation Group aircraft maintainers and 436th Operations Group aircrews partnered to test their abilities by launching 13 aircraft in rapid succession.

"The hurricane evacuation exercise provided a prime opportunity to test our ability to rapidly generate and launch the fleet while also protecting our most important assets, our Airmen and families," said Col. Bary Flack, 436th MGG commander.

Active duty and Reserve aircrews from the 3rd, 9th, 326th and 709th Airlift Squadrons flew C-5M and C-17 aircraft away from Dover AFB during the exercise.

“This exercise gave the OG and MGG an excellent chance to test out our ability to work together to keep our aircraft and equipment safe,” said Col. Kenny Weiner, 436th OG commander. “We certainly learned plenty of valuable lessons.”

This was Weiner’s first wing exercise as OG commander at Dover AFB.

“This was a monumental feat and I am very proud of the aircrew, maintainers and the wing,” Weiner said. “It was a huge success and demonstrated that a lot of hard work by our Airmen paid off.”

On June 5, the decision to evacuate aircraft was made 96 hours prior to the simulated hurricane’s expected arrival, thus making June 6 the fly-away date.

"Our mission generators absolutely crushed this exercise and we are proud to have partnered with the crews from the OG — what an amazing team," Flack said.

In addition to the fly-away, senior leaders and base agency representatives held a detailed scenario-based tabletop exercise covering base actions beyond aircraft evacuation from the first indication that a storm could impact Dover AFB.

“This exercise allowed us to validate proof of concept of a HURREVAC and made us more proficient by going through the physical motions of generating and preparing aircraft to either fly away or secure them here in a hangar if they were not airworthy,” said Lt. Col. Josephine Beacham, 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “There were some lessons learned in terms of process optimization and remaining flexible due to unknowns of any natural disaster. In the end, we can always find ways to be just a little better each time.”