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Homeland Security

American Forces Press Service

Florida Airmen Brace for Hurricane Sandy

By Air Force Capt. Cathleen Snow
920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Oct. 26, 2012 – As Hurricane Sandy crept up the Atlantic coastline today blowing a mix of sand, rain and salt mist, 920th Rescue Wing airmen here moved the wing's six HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters inside an aircraft hangar to protect them from the storm.

"A damaging wind warning was issued earlier," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Charles Washington, range weather forecaster at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. While Hurricane Sandy isn't expected to exceed a Category 1, he said, sustained winds at 34 knots will be in effect until 5 a.m. Oct. 27.

The storm will be closest to Patrick later this evening at around 185 miles east of the base, Washington said.

Although no flying was scheduled involving the 920th today, maintenance airmen took precautions by policing loose items in and around the flight line, in addition to securing the 920th’s five HC-130P/N King fixed-wing aircraft by fastening chains to their tails, noses and wings to steel rings embedded into the ramp.

"We [also] worked with the 920th Logistics Readiness Flight to put away deployment gear for the upcoming readiness exercise," said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Armand Barrett, logistic superintendent with the 920th Maintenance Operation Flight.

Long before the storm's eye neared, airmen moved one Pave Hawk onto the open aircraft ramp to perform avionic systems operations checks. In between rain bands they huddled inside the aircraft during some of the more gusty conditions to, "Get some work done today," Barrett said.

The 920th is a combat search-and-rescue wing dedicated to saving lives. It is a component of Air Force Reserve Command, based at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

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