Bradley’s leadership prepares for hurricane season

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Leadership and various subject matter experts from across the 103rd Airlift Wing conducted a table-top exercise to work through hurricane response processes and procedures May 4, 2014.

In the exercise a simulated Category 3 hurricane named Lulu was on a path through Connecticut, forcing some of the surrounding area to evacuate. In this scenario the unit's fleet of C-130H Hercules aircraft also had to be relocated away from the storm's path, and the state's Airmen had to be ready to respond in case state and local authorities needed help with storm response.

"As the Flying Yankees gain speed in the C-130 world we need to develop well-established plans and gain a thorough understanding of what this new flying mission requires of us," said Lt. Col. James Guerrera, executive officer for the 103rd Airlift Wing, and exercise controller and lead evaluator.

The exercise's main purpose was to prepare the 103rd Airlift Wing for the upcoming hurricane season. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website, hurricane season for the east coast is from June 1 through Nov. 30, peaking in August and September.

"Our table top exercise allows the emergency operations staff to review current wing plans and identify blind spots for leadership," said Guerrera. "In turn, this helps educate and prepare us with solid policy and guidance for the upcoming hurricane season."

According to Col. Roy Walton, commander of the 103rd Mission Support Group, the importance of this exercise went beyond just preparing for hurricane season.

"This exercise was important this year because we never had to worry about evacuating our aircraft, we could stick all 8 C-21's in the hangar," said Walton. "So it helped us examine whether we had the right plans in place to get the C130s out of here and how we would prepare the base and personnel for a hurricane."

Once the storm had passed, the unit would need to get the base back up and running and ready to respond as needed, said Walton.
"It also made sure we had solid procedures to provide support to the state of Connecticut should we be called upon as we have in the past," said Walton. "The old adage is to practice with these agencies so we aren't exchanging business cards during an emergency, but ahead of time," said Walton.

Col. Roy Walton, commander of the 103rd Mission Support Group, walks around the emergency operations center directing individual subject matter experts during a table-top exercise on May 4, 2014, Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Conn. The exercise was designed to prepare the Connecticut Air National Guard for the upcoming hurricane season, and implement procedural changes and lessons learned from previous exercises and actual emergency response operations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Col. Roy Walton, commander of the 103rd Mission Support Group, walks around the emergency operations center directing individual subject matter experts during a table-top exercise on May 4, 2014, Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Conn. The exercise was designed to prepare the Connecticut Air National Guard for the upcoming hurricane season, and implement procedural changes and lessons learned from previous exercises and actual emergency response operations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

The simulated path of the fictitious Hurricane Lulu during a table top exercise held by the 103rd Airlift Wing, Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Conn., May 4, 2014. “With the newly acquired C-130H’s the Flying Yankees are able to provide another capability to the state that could be potentially valuable,” said Col. Roy Walton, commander of the 103rd Mission Support Group.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

The simulated path of the fictitious Hurricane Lulu during a table top exercise held by the 103rd Airlift Wing, Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby, Conn., May 4, 2014. “With the newly acquired C-130H’s the Flying Yankees are able to provide another capability to the state that could be potentially valuable,” said Col. Roy Walton, commander of the 103rd Mission Support Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)