Base units support pre- and post-Sandy relief efforts

  • Published
  • By Chrissy Miner
  • Robins Public Affairs
As voters headed to the polls Tuesday, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 was busy preparing for its next critical mission.

It readied two UH-1N Huey utility helicopters with six crew chiefs, four pilots and equipment to head to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey - one of the states most impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Their mission: To help support storm relief efforts.

"We expect to be there for a month, but there is no telling at this point," said Lt. Col. Kyle Burress, one of the deploying Marine pilots.

Meanwhile, the Air Force Reserve Command's Force Generation Center here continued to spearhead support to the relief efforts by Air Force Reserve units across the globe.

That included overseeing operations at Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts, where it set up a staging area for equipment and supplies.

Two groups from the 689th Combat Communications Wing also supported the relief efforts.

Two days before the storm made landfall on Oct. 29, an elite group of specialists known as The Hammer Ace Team answered a call to report to Dover Air Force Base, Del. They created a back-up communications network for the base in the event the storm disabled its network.

Fortunately, "it was an insurance policy that didn't have to be used," said Col. Joseph Scherrer, 689th Combat Communications Wing commander.

Shortly after, a second team of communicators reported to McGuire. The team produced full-motion videos from satellite imagery to help FEMA, DoD, and the departments of homeland security and transportation focus their efforts on the hardest hit areas.