SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
More than 50 F-15E Strike Eagles from the 4th Fighter Wing and six KC-135R Stratotankers from the 916th Air Refueling Wing were repositioned to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Sept. 17, as a precautionary measure due to Hurricane Florence.
The 916th ARW also provided support to the 4thFW by repositioning more than 200 personnel and equipment from the 4th FW to Barksdale AFB.
Hurricane Florence reached Seymour Johnson AFB on Sept. 14, causing flooding in various areas of the base to include parts of the runway.
Col. Donn Yates, 4thFW commander, issued an “all clear” for the base, beginning the base’s reconstitution phase after the effects of Hurricane Florence, to bring the base back to its full capabilities.
The 4thFW’s assets returned from Barksdale AFB, Sept. 18, and Team Seymour has begun recovery efforts to reestablish normal base operations.
“Every decision we make is in the best interest for all of our personnel, both on and off base,” said Yates. “This is the part where we begin to gradually get back to what we need to do.”
The 4th Civil Engineering Squadron prepared and responded to Hurricane Florence effectively, said Maj. Joseph Balskus, 4thCES operation flight commander.
“Members of the 4th Civil Engineering Squadron prepared over 8,000 sand bags, preemptively removed control cards, aircraft barriers and power sources, pre-staged response equipment and generators, supported a 50-person Coast Guard Search and Rescue team and expertly executed countless other tasks,” said Balskus. “Then, a small team rode out the storm and stood postured to support our installation. During the height of wind and rain, they restored downed power distribution, deployed additional rescue generators, removed trees from buildings, and kept Command & Control operations online. Eventually the entire base was recovered, the perimeter was secured, and all power was restored. Engineers played a vital role in the reconstitution of the 4th Fighter Wing mission in less than 3 days after Hurricane Florence descended upon Goldsboro.”
Though the recovery of Team Seymour may not be instant, Yates said he is grateful for the effort to restore the base.
“It’s going to be a gradual process,” said Yates. “I’m thankful for everyone’s teamwork and understanding in this.”