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Sheppard aids in F-22 bed-down due to Hurricane Issac
Students from the 363rd Training Squadron get armament familiarization training on the F-22 Raptor from 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron personnel Aug. 28, 2012 at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. The 82nd Training Wing and 80th Flying Training Wing assisted in bedding down 14 aircraft and 40 personnel after their evacuation from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., due to Hurricane Issac. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dan Hawkins)
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Sheppard aids F-22 evac due to Hurricane Issac

Posted 8/29/2012   Updated 8/29/2012 Email story   Print story


by Dan Hawkins
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

8/29/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- F-22 Raptors from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., were evacuated here Aug. 26th as a precautionary measure in advance of Hurricane Issac making landfall on the Florida panhandle.

The 82nd Training Wing at Sheppard, along with the 80th Flying Training Wing, sprung into action hosting the evacuated aircraft after Hurricane Condition 4 was announced at Tyndall on Friday.

Bringing 14 aircraft and 40 people approximately 980 miles and halfway across the country in the span of a few days can be a huge logistics challenge, but Team Sheppard began to prep for the arrival of the Raptors late last week.

According to Lt. Col. Peter Berube, 82nd Mission Support Group deputy commander, the wing began its bed-down process as soon as they received notification the planes might be evacuated from Tyndall to Sheppard.

After contacting Tyndall's 325th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's (AMXS) 43rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) and the 43rd Fighter Squadron to find out their requirements, coordination amongst multiple Sheppard agencies began in earnest.

"A lot of support went into it," Berube said. "Without help from everyone in the 82nd Training Wing, including the 80th Flying Training Wing, we couldn't have done this. From communications, security, contracting, material handling, POL, billeting and the Operational Support Squadron from the 80th side, everyone pitched in and made this work."

The decision to evacuate the aircraft was made on Friday morning; maintenance personnel from Tyndall left the base by bus around 3:00 p.m. heading to Sheppard.

The team stopped at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana for a rest break enroute, arriving around midnight Saturday after the 20-hour ride.

The aircraft arrived mid-afternoon on Sunday.

The sheer size, in terms of number of aircraft, was one of the biggest challenges on both ends.

"Normally we deploy in a six or 12-ship package," said Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Grizzard, 325th AMXS and 43rd AMU superintendent. "So this is not a typical deployment for us, but between our crew back at Tyndall and the awesome support here at Sheppard, it has not been a big deal."

Another added benefit of the evacuation aircraft being at Sheppard is the ability for F-22 maintenance students undergoing training here to have the opportunity to see an F-22 up close and personal.

"This is a kind of two-way street this trip," Grizzard said. "A lot of the guys that came out have friends here who are instructors. Through those contacts we brought out about 190 students to give them some familiarization on the jet. We've also gotten the chance to go over and see the maintenance simulators the students work on, which allows us to see exactly what the students have worked on before they get out to us in the field."

Lt. Col. Travis Koch, 43rd Fighter Squadron commander and a Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training graduate, noted the training opportunities the evacuation created.

"Since we've been here, we've had our maintainers show some of the (F-22) maintenance students the aircraft," he said. "This will give the students an idea of what they will be working on when they come out to the field."

Training is also being conducted with the base fire department, giving them realistic hands-on training in recovery operations.

Koch was impressed by the professionalism and hospitality from Sheppard despite the short notice nature of the evacuation.

"Everybody here has been exceptionally helpful," Koch said. "The base has been very accommodating and made us feel right at home."

The enthusiasm for the mission was also evident.

 "Great attitude all around," Berube said. "I'm very proud of both wings, our Airmen and leadership team for making it happen with zero glitches."

8/31/2012 1:34:02 PM ET
wonderful article on how well Air Force supports one another in time of need as well as including new airmen students in the process. As mom to one of the students I am very pleased that my son is a student airman at Shepherd.
sandra grey, Grafenwohr Germany
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