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Katrina takes heavy toll at Keesler
Air Force Links ^ | Aug 31, 2005 | Louis A. Arana-Barradas

Posted on 08/31/2005 6:08:03 PM PDT by SandRat

SAN ANTONIO -- Hurricane Katrina smashed “a good 95 percent” of Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., turning it into a pile of debris and mud, said a base spokesperson.

Lt. Col. Claudia Foss, 81st Training Wing public affairs officer, said water surges from the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Biloxi reached depths of five to six feet at times.

“Whether it was five feet, one foot or a few inches, at one point everything was covered with bay or Gulf water,” she said.

Fortunately, there have been no reports of people killed or injured at Keesler, she said. More than 6,000 people rode out the storm in seven shelters at the base and all are accounted for. But elsewhere the storm has claimed at least 68 lives and the death toll is expected to rise.

The colonel said what the base looks like now compares “to being in Iraq” because of the destruction and debris scattered everywhere. The storm knocked trees down or stripped them of their limbs.

“Power lines are down,” she said. “We’ve got light poles that are just bent over and there’s nothing around them -- so how did they bend over? Everywhere you walk, there’s either debris, trees that have fallen over or mud and muck.”

According to officials at the Air Force Climatology Center at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., the maximum winds at the base gusted to more than 90 mph. And sustained winds of 50 mph buffeted the base for most of the time.

The devastation at the base near Biloxi is widespread, as it is along the Gulf Coast and further inland. Floodwaters destroyed much of the base housing area and heavily damaged industrial areas, the colonel said. And the storm damaged a big part of the base runway.

“In many homes, there was three feet of water,” said Colonel Foss, who lost her home to the flooding. “In my house, the wall facing the bay is gone.”

The colonel said one home burned down. Other homes less damaged by flooding are “not liveable,” she said.

Near the base front gate that faces the Gulf, six-foot deep water flooded the commissary and exchange stores. Many buildings have missing roofs and walls. Teams are working to clear as much debris as possible so people can return to their homes for the first time since moving into shelters late last week.

“So we’re anticipating how folks are going to react,” the colonel said. She said many will find their homes destroyed. But at least they can make “an initial assessment on whether or not they can salvage anything.”

To help people cope with the events of the past few days, teams of chaplains and life skills specialists are available at each shelter, Colonel Foss said.

“Definitely, we’re taking care of our active duty members and their families,” she said.

There is no power at the base hospital, so patients must move elsewhere. Medical personnel from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, Texas, left for Keesler Aug. 30 to help evacuate about 25 patients, medical center officials said. Three critical care teams and one obstetrics team left on a C-130 Hercules. Keesler officials will evacuate less critical patients to on-base shelters.

The base runway, while damaged, can still support C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 transport aircraft, the colonel said. The aircraft will help bring in relief supplies, Colonel Foss said.

Help is starting to flow into the base, she said. Teams from the Navy base at Pensacola, Fla., are flying helicopters into the base to help. The Navy, she said, will send search and rescue teams to the base.

Airmen at other bases are ready to lend a hand as soon as possible, the colonel said. A team of Red Horse engineers is one of the first expected to arrive. They will help clear debris and help get the base back on track.

Keesler might be broken at the moment, but its people have not given up hope of starting again, Colonel Foss said.

“Family support here has been phenomenal,” she said. “And we’re taking care of each other.” (Contributing to this report: Master Sgt. Orville Desjarlais, Air Force Print News; Lois Walsh, Eglin AFB, Fla.; and Sue Campbell, Wilford Hall Medical)


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; US: Florida; US: Louisiana; US: Mississippi; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: afb; heavy; katrina; keesler; keeslerafb; takes; toll; usaf
Three photos of the devistation
1 posted on 08/31/2005 6:08:04 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Kathy in Alaska; Fawnn; HiJinx; Radix; Spotsy; Diva Betsy Ross; ...

Keesler AFB gets its property KICKED by Katrina! Troops and families safe (fingers crossed).


2 posted on 08/31/2005 6:10:29 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

I have pics of it from this morning, but I don't know how to post them here. I got them from my friend who is stationed in Kuwait, got them send there via email, supposed to come back in two weeks, apartment in Biloxi most likely gone, girlfriend still missing, and no where to go...............


3 posted on 08/31/2005 6:10:37 PM PDT by Mon
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To: Mon; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Kathy in Alaska; Fawnn; HiJinx; Radix; Spotsy; Diva Betsy Ross; ...

Can any of you help out Mon?


4 posted on 08/31/2005 6:14:18 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
I have a troop deployed with me from Keesler and I was wondering if anyone has any more info. She would really appreciate it. Benachi and Bayview are her cross streets for her home. If anyone has info of this area we are very interested........Thanx
5 posted on 08/31/2005 6:14:52 PM PDT by marmar (435th CASF Germany helping bring the Wounded Warriors home........)
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To: SandRat

We lost Homestead AFB from Andrew, now it looks like we've lost Keesler.


6 posted on 08/31/2005 6:16:23 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Mon

Freepmail!


7 posted on 08/31/2005 6:16:24 PM PDT by MoJo2001 (www.proudpatriots.org (Support Our Troops)...)
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To: marmar; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Kathy in Alaska; Fawnn; HiJinx; Radix; Spotsy; Diva Betsy Ross; ..
She might try going to this link.

Hurricane Katrina Recovery

Anyone else out there that can help?

8 posted on 08/31/2005 6:17:54 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

I was at Keesler in 1982 for tech training. If memory serves me correctly, this is a pic of the base movie theatre.

9 posted on 08/31/2005 6:19:27 PM PDT by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC

Oops, my bad. I blew up the pic. Not the theatre.


10 posted on 08/31/2005 6:21:03 PM PDT by DouglasKC
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To: SandRat

Thanks! Heard from people already to post the pics :)


11 posted on 08/31/2005 6:24:19 PM PDT by Mon
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To: dfwgator

Maybe,...maybe not; Engineers need to evaluate.


12 posted on 08/31/2005 6:28:55 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: Mon

Glad to be of assistance.


13 posted on 08/31/2005 6:35:12 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: Mon

Yours or his?

Either way, prayers for all.


14 posted on 08/31/2005 6:38:45 PM PDT by Shazbot29 (Light a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day; light him on fire, he'll be warm the rest of his life)
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To: SandRat
During Camille, instruments at Keesler measured sustained winds of 190 mph for three hours. Looks like the surge was worse this time, even if the winds were less.
15 posted on 08/31/2005 6:39:00 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Violence never settles anything." Genghis Khan, 1162-1227)
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To: DouglasKC

It must look similar. I was there for training in Summer of '88 and I thought it was the theatre too.

Either that or I'm getting old.


16 posted on 08/31/2005 6:41:38 PM PDT by digitalbrownshirt (http://digitalbrownshirt.blogspot.com)
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To: SandRat

Towards the bottom on this side they have "town by town" damage etc.
check it out
http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/

looking for loved ones SunHerald, newspaper Biloxi
http://forums.prospero.com/n/mb/listsf.asp?webtag=kr-biloxkatrina

Tell loved ones where you are (also SunHerald)
http://forums.prospero.com/n/mb/listsf.asp?webtag=kr-biloxkatrina


17 posted on 08/31/2005 6:45:52 PM PDT by Mon
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To: digitalbrownshirt
It must look similar. I was there for training in Summer of '88 and I thought it was the theatre too.
Either that or I'm getting old.

It does look similar. I blew up the pic and it's the Pass Road visitors center, probably at the Pass Road gate. I went through that gate every day for 8 months because my wife and I lived in a little apartment on Pass Road.

18 posted on 08/31/2005 6:48:17 PM PDT by DouglasKC
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To: All
This is a better address for my troop's address off of Keesler AFB........Harrison Court Military Housing. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have learned that FReeper are # 1 when it comes to info.....
19 posted on 08/31/2005 6:51:40 PM PDT by marmar (435th CASF Germany helping bring the Wounded Warriors home........)
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To: SandRat

Thank you, I was born at Keesler but Camile took care of that hosptial.


20 posted on 08/31/2005 6:52:02 PM PDT by Former Military Chick (I salute all our Vets, those who walked before me and all those who walk after me.)
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To: Mon; SandRat; StarCMC

I know Star has been most generous to help me. Perhaps we can ask???


21 posted on 08/31/2005 6:54:26 PM PDT by Former Military Chick (I salute all our Vets, those who walked before me and all those who walk after me.)
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To: DouglasKC
I was at Keesler from July 74' to September 77' active duty station as a veterinary technician. My old barracks were directly across the street from the Medical Center (which is now a parking lot) and were built in 1936. Hurricane Carmen was the worst I experienced; just a mere thunderstorm next to Camille Frederick, and Katrina.
22 posted on 08/31/2005 7:05:49 PM PDT by vetvetdoug (Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Brices Crossroads, Harrisburg, Britton Lane, Holly Springs, Hatchie Bridge,)
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To: Mon; SandRat; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; Kathy in Alaska; Fawnn; HiJinx; Radix; Spotsy; ...


From Mon's friend!! Thanks Mon!!
Keesler AFB

 

23 posted on 08/31/2005 7:20:09 PM PDT by MoJo2001 (www.proudpatriots.org (Support Our Troops)...)
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To: MoJo2001

The last eight pic's are little red boxes.

Eaker & I were at Keesler several years ago, where we were given a personal tour of the Ticonderoga.

I saw pic's today of the bridge from Biloxi to Keesler - - amazing! Looks like fallen dominoes.


24 posted on 08/31/2005 7:32:06 PM PDT by TheMom (My husband rocks!)
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To: SandRat

I wonder if it will be added to the list of bases to be closed? There was an air force base in Florida that was closed after Hurricane Andrew heavily damaged it in 1992.


25 posted on 08/31/2005 8:05:08 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative (France is an example of retrograde chordate evolution.)
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To: MoJo2001

BTTT!!!!!!


26 posted on 09/01/2005 3:05:23 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: SandRat

BTTT!!!!!!


27 posted on 09/01/2005 3:07:55 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: SandRat

BTTT!!!!!!


28 posted on 09/01/2005 3:08:11 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: SandRat

BTTT!!!!!!


29 posted on 09/01/2005 3:08:26 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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