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Air Force, Guard bases assess post-storm damage

Oct. 30, 2012 - 02:42PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 30, 2012 - 02:42PM  |  
N.Y. National Guard soldiers handoff Humvees to members of the N.Y. Air National Guard 109th Airlift Wing in response to Hurricane Sandy.
N.Y. National Guard soldiers handoff Humvees to members of the N.Y. Air National Guard 109th Airlift Wing in response to Hurricane Sandy. (Staff Sgt. David Arroyo / N.Y. Army National Guard)
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The Air Force started picking up the pieces Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast, drenching New Jersey and New York City and leaving millions of people without power.

In New York, the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard is using an HC-130 to survey the damage to Long Island, said Eric Durr, a spokesman with the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.

Meanwhile, airmen with the 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse and the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base are securing a total of 50 Humvees that are expected to be used in either Long Island or New York City to ferry police and firefighters, Durr said.

"It's a nice joint operation: We got blue drivers in green vehicles," he said.

Joint Base Andrews, Md., reported one incident of major damage: The roof for a storage warehouse was damaged by leaking water and will have to be replaced, said Eric Sharman, a spokesman for the 11th Wing.

Only essential personnel are on duty at Andrews today, he said in an email. The base is expected to resume normal operations on Wednesday — possibly earlier for shift workers.

Most personnel at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., are still at home, said Philip Rhodes, a spokesman for Air Force Reserve command.

"The base remains closed except for mission essential personnel," Rhodes said in an email. "The Air Force Reserve Command's 514th Air Mobility Wing is assessing facilities for damage."

None of the aircraft at Dover Air Force Base, Del., was seriously damaged by the storm, according to a news release from the 436th Airlift Wing. So far, no major damage, flooding or power outages have been reported on base.

"At this time we are conducting 100 percent accountability for base personnel and there have been no injuries reported," Col. Rick Moore, commander of 436th Airlift Wing, said in the release. "We are also focusing on becoming fully operational. The airfield is currently open for limited operations and we will be fully operational by midnight tonight."

Three of the four C-5Bs that had left Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., are expected to return to the base this afternoon, said Lt. Col. James Bishop, a spokesman for the 439th Airlift Wing. The fourth aircraft is slated to go on a mission from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

"FEMA emergency trucks and the Army Corps of Engineers are staging recovery operations from Westover ARB and will be there until no longer needed," Bishop said in an email.

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