TYNDALL AFB, Fla. --
As part of the kick off to the 2016 hurricane preparedness, Continental North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern), commander joined the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunters and a hurricane forecaster team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during an annual Caribbean Hurricane Awareness Tour.
Lt. Gen. Etter joined members of NOAA and the 53rd WRS in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on the trip’s first leg of the CHAT April 11. The team then flew aboard the Hurricane Hunter's WC-130 aircraft to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, April 12 for the second leg where the team met with local leaders and community members to discuss hurricane preparedness and allow people a close up look at the WC-130. After that stop, the General departed the tour, while the NOAA and 53rd WRS continued the tour throughout the week with stops at Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Ponce, Puerto Rico.
“As commander of CONR-1AF (AFNORTH), one of my duties as the air component to U.S. Northern Command is to oversee U.S. Air Force efforts to provide humanitarian support to civil authorities. Among those Air Force units that provide a crucial service is the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. This marks its 73rd year the 53rd WRS has supported the National Hurricane Center and U.S. Hurricane Warning Program. We truly have an expert team here to share information about disaster response and civil preparedness,” said Etter
The CHAT outreach program began in the 1970s with a joint effort between NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and the 403rd Wing’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. The team visited two cities in Mexico as well as three other Caribbean cities promoting hurricane awareness.
“We share a common interest in taking care of our people, particularly those suffering during times of natural disaster,” Etter said. “While we are here to raise hurricane awareness across Latin America and the Caribbean, this also provides our two countries – and other countries in the region – an opportunity to maintain and expand our positive working relationships.”