Friday, July 08, 2005

Hur-evac Dennis

As Hurricane Dennis bears down on the Gulf Coast, I ask that you pray for all of the people who live there. In particular, keep the families of military aviators in your thoughts. Uncle Sam takes care of his jets. The families must suck it up and take cover. I don't mean to sound bitter, but I have lived through eight hurricanes in my life as a military spouse, six of those without a husband.

It is a little known fact that when a hurricane approaches, the Air Force (and other services, I am certain) evacuates the jets that may be in the storm's path to a base that is out of storm's range. I understand why. Those planes aren't cheap. Sometimes, though, the guys were a little too excited about the possibility of a hur-evac - #1 rule of a TDY (out of town trip): Never whistle while you pack! One particular memory is of a phone call from Ohio during Hurricane Fran in 1996. SugarDaddy-to-be tells his pregnant wife about the restaurant he had eaten at and how they were going to a baseball game. I was furious.

Him: "What do you want me to do? Sit on my ass in the hotel?"

Me: "Yes!!! Sit there and watch the damn Weather Channel & tell me what the hell is going on. I have no power, you know!"

After that he learned to just not tell me what they did. Far as I know it was a very, boring, lonely time for them. Yeah, that's it.

Anyway. There are shelters on base, but you can't take your pets. I never went to a shelter because we always lived far enough inland that I felt somewhat safe. I always prepared a "tornado closet" ( I grew up in West Texas. I am always prepared for a tornado!). After the first two hurricanes, I always filled everything I could up with water. We had a well, so when the power went out, so did my water. No brushing teeth, no rinsing dishes, no flushing the toilet! (that gets nasty quickly) I made sure to have plenty of food that I didn't have to cook. (However after one storm, a friend had everybody over, lit up the grill & cooked everything that was in the fridge & freezer since it was going to go bad anyway!) That all said, it was so scary as the storms made their way through. I was very blessed to never have any damage.

I can't imagine being stationed right on the beach and having those storms coming right at you. I hope that there is a way for those families to evacuate as well. The runway here is full of jets from the Gulf Coast. The aircrew all have lodging on base or at hotels. If you are in the path, you are welcome to come up here and stay at my house! Lots of room and sympathy. If not, at least know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I will be watching the Weather Channel for you!

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