CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There was standing room only Friday as the 145th Airlift Wing Commander, Col. Bryony Terrell, took center stage to brief on the preparation of then-Hurricane Florence and what destruction may lie ahead during a “Town Hall Meeting” held at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International airport.
“We’re kind of doing three phases at once; command and control which includes accountability and communications, provide forces, then sheltering operations and sustainment, ” stated Col. Terrell.
The first portion of the briefing covers the current weather conditions and moves forward into what may come.
“The main concern is the overall sheer volume of water through the whole area that’s going to be rushing downhill…this could be a record-breaking event,” stated 145th Combat Operations Group Weather Flight Commander, Lt. Col. Randall Haeberle.
Following the weather brief, a rousing speech occurred calling Airmen to act and thanking them for their continued, unselfish service.
“We’ll be standing in a very long line of National Guardsmen that goes back more than 400 years; it’s uniquely a National Guard mission…I know you’re going to respond professionally, courageously, and unselfishly,” stated The Adjutant General for North Carolina National Guard, Major Gen. Gregory A. Lusk.
A key group across the base that makes sure communication is flowing, and needs are being met, is the Emergency Operation Center. The Emergency Operation Center is currently running on 24-hour service with two rotating shifts and approximately 16 members per shift.
“We’re constantly getting changes across the state so we’re doing the best that we can to react and disseminate the information,” stated North Carolina Air National Guard Emergency Operation Center Day-Shift Director, Col. Shawne Johnson.
Following Col. Johnson’s brief, the 145th Airlift Wing Installation Emergency Manager, Master Sgt. Rebecca Tongen, briefs members on the chain of command and reporting procedures. Master Sgt. Tongen also briefs for National Preparedness Month reminding members to keep a plan handy and a safety kit in the event of a natural disaster.
“Some of the key things that you want to make sure you put together include 1 gallon of water per person, per day, for at least three days for drinking and sanitation,” stated Master Sgt. Tongen.
145th Airlift Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Susan Dietz answered questions put together by a wellness team for Airmen across the base. Chief Master Sgt. Dietz had kind and encouraging words for the Airmen as she finished answering all the questions.
“I’m so proud of all of our Airmen that have stood up for State Active Duty. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself, and look out for each other,” stated Chief Master Sgt. Dietz.
Col. Terrell ended the meeting reminding Airmen about the importance of staying vigilant and safe in the eye of the storm.
“Make safe and smart decisions, and consider the risks. Every storm is different, every emergency situation is different, so we flex to those situations and we adjust. I appreciate your patience, your flexibility, but most of all, your dedication to getting this mission done. This is what makes us unique in the National Guard, this is our mission. There is nothing I want more, than to be North Carolina Guardsmen helping our friends, neighbors, and families.”