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Kadena aircraft evacuate to Andersen

  • Published
  • By Capt Joel Stark
  • 36 Wg Public Affairs
Typhoon Man-Yi, Okinawa's first typhoon this year, skirted Guam last week, hitting Okinawa and Andersen's Pacific Air Forces sister base, Kadena, Friday, July 13 forcing a pre-landfall evacuation of its larger aircraft.
"Our [initial] assessment of the storm was that it was very powerful," said Capt. Jonathan Wilson, 18th Operations Support Squadron weather flight commander. "Fortunately it began to diminish in strength, but it was still a very strong and a very broad storm."
The typhoon hit the base shortly after midnight July 13 and maintained 77 mph winds with gusts to 105 mph, Kadena officials reported.
Reuters news service reported that elsewhere on Okinawa Man-yi's winds included gusts of up to 145 mph and that, as of July 13, more than 23 people had been injured. Captain Wilson knew of no injuries on Kadena.
In advance of the storm's landfall on Okinawa, more than 25 larger base aircraft, including the KC-135, RC-135, MC-130, P-3 and E-3 evacuated to Andersen.
"When there is severe weather in their area, it has usually passed over us or not effected us at all, which gives those units a platform within the theater to launch their tasked missions," said Lt. Col. David Hornyak, Andersen's 36th Operations Support Squadron commander.

With the advance notification, base units were able to execute effective typhoon preparation, Captain Wilson said.
"I was pleased to see the majority of folks took heed and the right preparatory actions. Many times people can be fooled by the eye of the storm when things are calm. They go outside and before they know it the other side of the system passes over and they are caught," the captain said.
Kadena officials like Lt. Col. John Bukowinski, 18th Maintenance Group deputy commander, said as the storm approached the base stood ready with hangaring and aircraft evacuation plans. "This is something we haven't done in a year, but we take it very seriously," Colonel Bukowinski said.
Base F-15s, HH-60s and 1-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion high-value equipment as well as non-mission capable aircraft were sheltered in hangars and protective aircraft shelters on base.
Typhoon Man-Yi was the strongest to hit Kadena since 2003, 18th Wing officials said. Last year, the base went into typhoon condition preparation three times with no severe storm outcomes.
Maj. Dani Johnson, 18th Wing Public Affairs, contributed to this article.

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