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Kadena aircraft evacuate to Andersen

  • Published
  • By Maj. Dani Johnson
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
As Typhoon Man-Yi, Okinawa's first typhoon this year, moves across the Pacific, its current path will pass over Okinawa according to base weather officials.

"Right now it should hit the island sometime Friday morning with upwards of 125-knot winds gusting to 75 knots," said Capt. Jonathan Wilson, 18th Operations Support Squadron weather flight commander. "If it moves even slightly in a westward direction, we will have a much more serious storm."

With the advance notification, base units have started typhoon preparation.

"We have already created hangaring and evacuation plans for base aircraft," said Lt. Col. John Bukowinski, 18th Maintenance Group deputy commander. "This is something we haven't done in a year, but we take it very seriously.

Base F-15s, HH-60s and the 1-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion high value equipment as well as any non-mission capable aircraft will be sheltered in hangars and protective aircraft shelters on base. More than 25 larger base aircraft, including the KC-135, RC-135, MC-130, P-3 and E-3 will evacuate at this time to Andersen.

"It is important that we receive aircraft on short notice like this because there are numerous types of aircraft in the theater," said Lt. Col. David Hornyak, 36th Operations Support Squadron commander. "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."

Across Kadena, units are preparing their facilities to withstand high winds by securing loose equipment and moving what can be moved indoors. Family housing members are also tying down outdoor living items that cannot be placed inside.

"Last year was a very calm year and we didn't really get hit too hard by any typhoons," said Captain Wilson. "This one could be different but it's important that no one becomes complacent just because last year was mild.

"Also, if we get a direct hit, do not go outside until told it is all clear," he said. "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."

Last year, the base went into typhoon condition preparation three times with no severe storm outcomes.

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