Military News

Monday, October 05, 2015

Shelter from the storm: Barksdale welcomes East Coast visitors

by Airman 1st Class Curt Beach
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

10/2/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Hundreds of aircrew and a fleet of more than 65 aircraft including F-15E Strike Eagles and KC-135 Stratotankers arrived here, Oct. 1-2, to avoid potential damage from Hurricane Joaquin along the East Coast.

The aircraft and their crews are from the 916th Air Refueling Wing and 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, and will be sharing space on the Barksdale flightline through the weekend.

"It is with great pleasure that we welcome our fellow combat warriors to Barksdale Air Force Base and the Shreveport-Bossier Area," said Col. Kristin Goodwin, 2nd Bomb Wing commander. "We are primed to ensure Seymour Johnson Airmen have a comfortable stay as we welcome them with Barksdale's southern hospitality."

Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm with winds up to 130 mph, battered the Bahamas and was initially forecasted to move toward the U.S. and through the Carolinas. Governors have declared states of emergency in at least five states due to potential flash flooding regardless of the storm's path.

"It's great that the Air Force has facilities where aircraft can escape to in order to evade harm or weather elements," said William Flentge, 2nd Operations Support Squadron airfield manager. "It's nice to have a facility that can accommodate fighter aircraft. We've had extensive improvements to the airfield pavement over the past two years."

Barksdale's B-52 Stratofortresses will not be adversely affected by the visiting aircraft, and flight operations will continue as scheduled, Flentge said.

Last year, Seymour Johnson's aircraft were relocated to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as a precautionary measure to protect them from Hurricane Arthur.

"I want to personally thank everyone in advance for their efforts to keep the Airmen, families, the base and defense assets safe in the coming days," said Col. Mark Slocum, 4th FW commander.

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