U.S. AIR FORCE "HURRICANE HUNTERS" BOUND FOR GUAM

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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 24) - After an increase
in storm activity in the region, Air Force Hurricane Hunters and additional
aircraft are scheduled to make their way to Guam.

A group of Hurricane Hunters from the 53rd Weather
Reconnaissance Squadron stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss.,
have received orders to deploy to the island, according to Lt. Tom Wenz, public
affairs officer for the 7th Air Expeditionary Wing.

"They will support the additional assets that are in the
region," Wenz said, adding that there already are military weather
personnel stationed on island. "We're prepared to remain as long as it
takes to ensure that the mission is completed, and their mission is the success
of the weather observation operations in the Pacific."

The mission of the Hurricane Hunters is to recruit, organize and
train assigned personnel to perform aerial weather reconnaissance. During the
hurricane season, they provide surveillance of tropical disturbances and
hurricanes, according to the Hurricane Hunters Web site. Besides personnel,
WC-130 Hercules aircraft will be deployed to Guam, Wenz said. "These
weather recognizance aircraft are going to provide enhanced tropical cyclone
tracking and forecasting in the U.S. Pacific Command area of
responsibility," Wenz said.

For security reasons, Wenz could not say when or how many
additional personnel and aircraft are scheduled to arrive on Guam. He also could
not comment on how long the Hurricane Hunters will be on island. Wenz, however,
said military assets could help enhance weather detection and forecasting
capabilities, Wenz said.

"That is going to help everyone better prepare for
potential tropical weather systems," Wenz said.

Wenz said the crew is not coming to Guam in response to
Supertyphoon Pongsona, which slammed the island in December. That storm caused
millions of dollars in damage to military installations here, according to
Pacific Daily News files.

"When they decided that they were going to move all these
additional assets into the Pacific and Asia region, one of the assets that the
Pacific Command commander asked for was the Hurricane Hunters," Wenz said.

"They obviously noted an increase in weather activity in
the Pacific region. They looked at that in conjunction with the fact that they
have so many additional assets here."

April 24, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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