Forty-four Airmen from the 90th Security Forces Group deployed to Keesler AFB, Miss., Monday to help with disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina
F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. – Airmen from the 90th Security Forces Group await take-off in a C-130 Monday. Forty-four security forces troops were deployed to Keesler AFB, Miss., to provide humanitarian aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
E-mail this page
F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. – Forty-four Airmen from the 90th Security Forces Group deployed to Keesler AFB, Miss., Monday to help with disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The Airmen, who were notified of their deployment Sept. 1, were transported from the Wyoming Air National Guard in a C-130 provided by Little Rock AFB, Ark.
“This is an emotional experience for me,” said Col. Allen Jamerson, 90th SFG Commander. “This is like I’m sending my family into a hazardous, unstable place. At the same time, I’m very proud. I know every one of these Airmen is very capable of getting the job done.”
Master Sgt. Richard Thomas, 90th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, is the team leader for the Airmen. He said he’s grateful for the opportunity to help people who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Sergeant Thomas said the Airmen were all hand-picked as being the best troops by their unit superintendents.
“It’s a good feeling, the fact that our work hasn’t been overlooked and that they appreciate what we do,” said Airman 1st Class John Glenn, 90th SFS. “I’m glad we can help out some people who need it.”
The Airmen were chosen for their willingness to do their job here, according to Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Schmitz, 90th Security Forces manager.
“It’s time to let them help out other places,” said Chief Schmitz. “This situation gives us the opportunity to help out Americans who are in dire, terrible need.”
While in Mississippi, the Airmen will likely endure field-like conditions by sleeping in tents and using portable showers. They face the possibility of being forward-deployed to other regions in the Gulf of Mexico.
In order to prepare for the last-minute deployment, the Airmen spent the hours leading up to it on the firing range, going through deployment processing lines, getting medically cleared, and preparing their equipment.
“Whatever we have to go through to get down there pales in comparison to the people who are suffering,” said Sergeant Thomas.
New Orleans native Airman 1st Class Randall Newton, 90th Logistic Readiness Squadron, and his family are experiencing that suffering first hand. Though his immediate family escaped to Baton Rouge before the storm, his uncle remains missing.
“I’m glad they’re going because [the hurricane victims] need as much help as possible,” Airman Newton said. “I wish I was going.”
Though Airman Newton’s family home remained unscathed, a few of his relatives’ homes are gone.
The Airmen who are deploying do not know how long they will be there. It could be as long as 90 days, according to Chief Schmitz. Many, like Staff Sgt. Jeremy Dumas, 90 SFG, are leaving families behind.
“My family is 100 percent supportive,” said Sergeant Dumas. “They’re glad I’m not going overseas again.”
Senior Airman Mike Howie, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, is leaving his wife and 1-month-old baby. He said he is nervous about leaving them, but he wants to help out people who are hurting.
Though they may be nervous and anxious about leaving, a common theme from those who are deploying is that they are proud to do so.
“Everyone is excited to help out. The 90th Space Wing is proud to be able to go down and help our fellow Americans,” said Chief Schmitz. “We’re always going overseas, but this time we’re helping out at home.”