An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article Display
NEWS | June 15, 2023

Empowering JBLE Airmen through any hurricane crisis

By Airman 1st Class Mikaela Smith 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Chosen members from various units gather into the Emergency Operations Center, June 8, 2023. A simulated Category 2 hurricane was about to hit the base and it’s their mission to gather as much accurate information as possible and present it to senior leaders in a timely manner. This may only be a Continuity of Operations Plan Hurricane Functional Exercise, but JBLE will always be ready to protect the community and ensure the mission continues, by weathering through any natural disasters that come to our doorstep.

“During a natural disaster, there would be constant evaluation of the weather and impeding hurricane,” said Christopher Born, 633d Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management and EOC manager. “The EOC would be stood up three hours prior to the expected time of the hurricane hitting the base, with 24/7 operations we would have teams working between a night and day shift. These are some of the things that the exercise covered, ensuring each unit is prepared to answer properly.”

Born mentioned the EOC is the heartbeat to providing accurate information to enable key decisions to be made in a timely and effective manner by the wing commander.

According to the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Virginia can expect to experience the effects of a tropical storm or its remnants yearly and hurricanes are expected once every 2.3 years. Although major hurricanes occur less frequently, being proactive in any natural disaster is critical to ensuring mission success and the safety of the community.

“If a hurricane were to hit on a large scale, our priority would be the protection of personnel, facilities and resources,” stated Robert Starr, 633d CES emergency management specialist. “Depending on the category, intensity and track of the storm, 1st Fighter Wing assets would be transported to a designated safe haven. Additionally, the 633d Air Base Wing commander could issue a limited evacuation order for JBLE personnel and families to evacuate.”

Installation resiliency is one of JBLE’s prioritized focus areas, due to its location by the coast. With increasing frequency of precipitation, combined with rising sea level and land subsidence, protecting facilities and resources from flooding and any damage is of mission priority.

The COOP Hurricane Functional Exercise is one way JBLE prepares and protects our community and the surrounding areas. Ensuring the mission continues will always be an Air Force priority, but that’s only accomplished by the Airmen and leaders who work together to keep the community safe.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., declared Aug. 31, 2020, “Only through collaboration within and throughout will we succeed… Most importantly, we must empower our incredible Airmen to solve any problem.” This mindset must be adopted by every military member to ensure success no matter the crisis.