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Pensacola site survey team visits base before hurricane season

By Jason M. Webb | | May 21, 2009

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As the beginning of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season approaches, Marines stationed on bases along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts need to have a good game plan in the event their base is forced to evacuate.

Part of that game plan involves evacuating here for a few units that use the base as a safe haven.

Marine Air Training Support Group-21 from Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., is one of the units that has a Memorandum of Agreement with the base, and sent a group of Marines to conduct a site survey and tour of the various facilities May 6.

Students of the aviation school have previously evacuated here. 

The last time was in 2005 with more than 2,000 students arriving via buses after the 283 mile trip from Florida’s panhandle.

According to John L. Richard, management and program analyst, Base Operations Office, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., the base is able to host units with a 48 to 72 hour notice of an impending hurricane evacuation. 

Part of that hosting is providing temporary shelter and subsistence for up to 10,000 military personnel.

For visiting members of the site survey team, their goals were familiarization with the base evacuation procedures and to gain an overall view and scope of the process in the event an evacuation occurs during hurricane season, which runs from  June 1 to Nov. 30.

“Our main challenges are to mobilize 5,000 plus students the safest way to Albany,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan G. Montenegro, S-4 chief, S-4, Training and Education Command, NAS Pensacola, Fla.

Montenegro, visiting the base for his second year as part of the site survey team, said that this year the process is much easier since last year because both representatives from the base and MATSG-21 have worked through the responsibilities of each party. 

He said that it was very important that the survey team review the MOA, and note any changes, new requirements and introduce new members of the team to the process.

MATSG-21 currently has approximately 5,000 students, trainers and other personnel that would evacuate here if the unit is given the order to evacuate.


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