News: Tankers find shelter in Midwest
Story by Senior Airman Katrina Brisbin
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Senior Airman Katrina M. Brisbin
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. - As the East Coast prepares for Hurricane Sandy, six KC-135 Stratotankers from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakenhurst, N.J., relocated to McConnell for shelter from the storm Oct. 27, 2012.
“We are McGuire’s primary base,” said Senior Airman Victoria Carrero, 22nd Air Refueling Wing command post controller. “All bases have a plan and a primary base they go to during emergency conditions.”
The remaining JBMDL KC-135s were evacuated to other bases with available space.
As of Oct. 29th at 1:53 p.m., Hurricane Sandy is currently a Category I storm with maximum sustained winds of 92 miles per hour, with possible higher gusts.
Officials with the National Hurricane Center have warned that the combination of high winds, storm surge and high tide could result in flooding in coastal areas. If the storm collides with arctic air moving from the north and an early winter storm moving from the west, Sandy could potentially turn into what some weather officials are calling the "perfect storm."
Although the threat is not directly on McConnell’s homefront, the base is ready to assist.
In response to previous Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav, Air Mobility Command tasked more than 1,500 sorties to support relief efforts, and Mobility airmen moved nearly 25,000 passengers, more than 3,600 patients, and delivered nearly 6,500 short tons of supplies to and from the Gulf Coast.
McConnell’s mission is to provide global reach by conducting air refueling and airlift where ever and when ever needed. This includes supporting fellow AMC bases in humanitarian missions.
"As America's Mobility airmen, we are here to answer the call when it comes, in response to natural or manmade disasters," said Lt. Gen. Darren McDew, 18th Air Force commander. "Our airmen are watching Hurricane Sandy 24 hours a day, preparing to deliver to those in need."