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AFNORTH provides support to flood areas

3/26/2008 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- The numbered air force responsible for ensuring the air defense of the continental U.S. has also been supporting civilian and military authorities working to provide relief from the recent floods in the U.S.

Maj. Gen. Henry C. "Hank" Morrow, the 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northen) commander at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., announced the unit has answered a request through the adjutant general of a state struck by recent flooding for support.

"For the current flooding event, we approved and coordinated with the Civil Air Patrol National Operation Center and flew Air Force Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol) flights for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency," said the general. "We provided aerial photography of flooding in Greene and Webster (counties in ) Missouri and other areas."

While support requests and efforts are ongoing, the commander provided a summary of what has been done so far.

"Eleven flights have been flown as of March 23, with the crews flying a little more than 36 hours over the affected areas. The CAP National Operations Center representative reported that all missions were successful," he added. "Feedback from the Greene County Emergency Operations Center said 100 to 120 photos were supplied from the two missions conducted on (March) 20."

One mission on March 22 provided about 10 photos of the Springfield-Branson airport. Additional missions are being scheduled as needed to support both Greene and Webster counties.

The general cited the unit's mission of providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities and previous roles of the organization as the reason they were selected for the request.

"We were able to fly the Global Hawk aircraft for the California Wildfire situation late last year, teaming with Beale AFB to make that happen," he said. "That effort was spearheaded here at AFNORTH with direction provided by Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command. This process takes some time in order to create the Airspace Control Plan, get it approved by the FAA and notify pilots in the area and perform other vital tasks. There are a lot of moving parts required for that to happen, but not impossible."

The 1st Air Force is assigned to Air Combat Command and has the responsibility of ensuring the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental U.S. As the CONUS geographical component of the binational North American Aerospace Defense Command, it provides airspace surveillance and control and directs all air sovereignty activities for the continental U.S.

With the transfer of responsibility for continental air defense from the active duty component of the Air Force to the Air National Guard, First Air Force became the first numbered air force to be made up primarily of citizen Airmen. A combined First Air Force command post and CONUS Region Air and Space Operations Center perform the NORAD air sovereignty mission for the continental U.S. First Air Force plans, conducts, controls, coordinates and ensures the air sovereignty and provides for the unilateral defense of the U.S.

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