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2 Sep  2005 - The AWRA President and Board of Directors has approved moving the 9-13 Oct 2005 Reunion of Members to San Antonio, Texas.  Many of the 75+ members who committed to attend in Biloxi have already said they will come to Texas.  We will have an announcement about the Host Hotel early next week, but recommend that you make your travel plans now.

1 Sep  2005 -
AWRA has heard from our POC in Biloxi, MS.  The good news is that he and his family made it through relatively intact.  Biloxi is, however, devastated.  We have no option other than to cancel the reunion in Biloxi, scheduled for 9-13 Oct 2005.

The AWRA Board of Directors is exploring all options to move the reunion to a new site.  We know that many members have made plans to travel that week, and we want to keep the opportunity to get our membership together.  If anyone would like to volunteer, please contact AWRA at:

  or contact us by Phone at:  1-800-697-5072

Any reunion registration funds already sent  to Henry Turk will be refunded as soon as possible.  Please be patient, there are no services or utilities available in the Biloxi area, and it will take time to return to normal.

31 Aug 2005 -
Unless you've been hiding under the bed since Sunday, 28 August, you are well aware that a major catastrophe has stuck our fellow Americans along the Gulf of Mexico.  Many of you have asked about the status of the AWRA Reunion.  We don't have any updates as of today.  Obviously the communications are limited to non-existent at this time.  As soon as we hear from our Reunion POC, we will pass the word out.  The folks in Biloxi have much more basic needs to take care of at this time.

In the meantime, we can can keep them in our prayers. 

But we can do more than that!  Organizations like the RED CROSS are looking for cash donations.  I urge all of you to send them your support (and dollars) and let them know that you are doing it for your fellow Air Weather Reconnaissance members and their families. 

I know that, here in San Antonio,
the RED CROSS has been asking for donations of blood as well.  This is an annual need every summer when a lot of their regular donors are out of town.  Hurricane Katrina  just added to the need.

Find some way to help.  We can handle this if we work together.  Thanks.

Go to the regular AWRA NEWS page

For those who wondered about what the men and women of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squaron have been doing this Hurricane Season of 2005, here is an update. 

The WC-130J's, with their curly-cue propellers, have successfully passed all operational tests and are the primary (sole) aircraft supporting taskings of the National Hurricane Center.  During Hurricane Katrina, the 53rd successfully completed all 22 tasked missions, most involving 3 scheduled center fixes. 

When this category 5 monster of a storm threatened Keesler AFB, the 53rd moved 14 of their 17 aircraft to Ellington Field, located just outside of Houston, Texas.  Three out-of-commission aircraft remained at Keesler and rode out the storm in hangers.

Above is one of the WC-130J aircraft in a hurricane damaged hanger.  It appears that
the aircraft is undamaged, but there was reportedly 1-6 feet of water over the whole base.

Meanwhile, the squadron completed all of their missions.  They made their last fix shortly after Katrina made landfall, just miles west of their homes in the Biloxi area.   For those budding meteorologists in the crowd, here is the final Vortex Data Message:
URNT12 KNHC 291527
A. 29/15:16:50Z
B. 30 deg 19 min N
089 deg 38 min W
C. 700 mb 2497 m
D. NA kt
E. NA deg nm
F. 178 deg 127 kt
G. 90 deg 031 nm
H. EXTRAP 932 mb
I. 11 C/ 3049 m
J. 17 C/ 3049 m
K. 17 C/ NA
M. C33
N. 12345/ 7
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF300 2212A KATRINA OB 28
MAX FL WIND 127 KT E QUAD 15:06:20 Z

To find out what it all means, here is a link to the Hurricane Hunter's page.

As of 31 August, the 53rd is moving their operation to Dobbins AFB, in Atlanta, GA.  They will set up a Foward Operating Location (FOL) to continue to meet their taskings.  The first 3 aircraft flew from Ellington Field to Dobbins, with a flyby of the Keesler-Biloxi-Ocean Springs area so that the crews could see first hand what happened there.  You know they would rather be home helping their loved ones recover from Katrina.

All the more reason for us to help.

I am happy to admit that I never sat out a major storm on the ground.  I visited them surrounded by the safety of Lockheed's wonderful Herk.  Several times I left family behind with only the storm shutters between them and Mother Nature. 

Someone sent me the following to give me a feel for what I missed all those years.  These were both taken after the worst of the storm passed, but before the storm surge returned to the Biloxi Back Bay.  The top picture is of the base Thrift  Shop with a water tower in the background. 

Hurricane Katrina

The second photo is looking towards the base Commissary.

Hurricane Katrina

Still more reasons for us to help all that we can.

Go to the regular AWRA NEWS page