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Homeland Security

Air Force, AMC poised for Hurricane Irene response

8/27/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- In response to Hurricane Irene heading up the east coast of the U.S., the Air Force and Air Mobility Command are postured to support relief efforts if needed, officials said recently.

According to a National Weather Service report released Aug. 27, Hurricane Irene is currently a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour.

Command and control coordination of any humanitarian airlift effort in response to the storm are provided by the 618th Air and Space Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center) here. The TACC plans, schedules and directs a fleet of nearly 1,300 mobility aircraft in support of combat delivery and strategic airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations around the world.

In response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav combined, AMC tasked more than 1,500 sorties to support relief efforts. In those same responses, mobility forces moved nearly 25,000 passengers, more than 3,600 patients, and hauled nearly 6,500 short-tons of supplies to and from the Gulf Coast region.

After setting up the contingency response cell during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, AMC Airmen rapidly turned requirements into missions for humanitarian airlift assistance to people on the Gulf Coast. Within the first 24 hours of Katrina's landfall, the 618th AOC (TACC) moved search-and-rescue teams and their equipment to Louisiana and then quickly shifted focus to a hub-and-spoke operation to bring in supplies and rescue patients.

The U.S. Air Force's airlift capability enables the U.S. to respond immediately to any disaster worldwide, AMC officials said. Part of AMC's legacy is timely response to humanitarian crises at home and abroad.

"AMC Airmen serve others by providing our country with global reach: the capability of reaching out anywhere in the world in a matter of hours," said Gen. Ray Johns, the AMC commander. "For this reason, our aircraft are often the first signs of hope for victims of natural disasters. For Hurricane Irene, AMC will answer the call and respond as needed."

(Courtesy of Air Mobility Command Public Affairs.)

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