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403rd Wing evacuates aircraft, continues Tropical Storm Gordon reconnaissance

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The Air Force Reserve’s 403rd Wing relocated its aircraft, flown by both the Hurricane Hunters and the 815th Airlift Squadron, to Ellington Field, Texas, today as Tropical Storm Gordon makes its way toward the Gulf Coast.

“We are moving aircraft as a precautionary measure ahead of Tropical Storm Gordon, and so we can continue the mission,” said Col. Robert J. Stanton, 403rd Wing vice commander.

He added that the Keesler Air Force Base and 403rd Wing leadership have authorized early release for non-essential personnel by no later than 2 p.m. today.

“Individual section release is at the unit, squadron, and group commander discretion so please coordinate departure times through leadership prior to departing the base. For reporting information for tomorrow, please monitor official base and wing websites and social media channels,” he said.

It was a busy Labor Day weekend for the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, or Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters. They flew a mission into Tropical Storm Gordon Monday and is currently flying one today. According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is projected to gain strength today and is expected to make landfall as a hurricane by the time it hits the central Gulf Coast tonight.

Four aircraft also departed Sunday for Hawaii to fly reconnaissance missions into Hurricane Norman; however, their missions were cancelled today by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. The aircraft and crew, which are now at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., will return to Keesler AFB as early as Wednesday or Thursday afternoon depending on the impact of Tropical Storm Gordon. This would have been the squadron’s third deployment to Hawaii in five weeks, having previously flown data gathering missions into Hurricane Lane and Hector.

For more information, contact Maj. Marnee A.C. Losurdo, 403rd Wing Public Affairs, at 228-377-2056 or 228-365-1743.