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Two Robins Teams Respond to Hurricane Sandy | News

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Two Robins Teams Respond to Hurricane Sandy

As donations and volunteers pour into the Northeast to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, airmen from Robins Air Force Base already have boots on the ground.

The 689th Combat Communications Wing sent two teams to help. One team went to Delaware, and the other went to New Jersey.

Tech Sgt. Brian Fontaine says only ten members make up the elite Hammer Ace Team at Robins. Three of those airmen deployed to help in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. He pointed to stacks of electronic communications equipment that his team members took with them.

Hammer Ace loaded-up their equipment Saturday, and within 11 hours of the call for help, set-up emergency communications at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

689th Commander Col. Joseph Scherrer said, "We were leaning forward. We knew we were going to get a call."

He says his men prepared to set-up a communications network at Dover, in the event that Sandy knocked Dover's communication systems out.

Scherrer said, "It was an insurance policy that didn't have to be used, but we were there if needed."

That team is now coming home, but another from his wing is at the center of relief efforts from New Jersey's McGuire Air Force Base.

The full motion video team takes satellite images that allow federal, state and local agencies to identify where help is needed most.

Scherrer said, "They know when they're out there in the field, that they're making a contribution to whatever mission they've been called upon to do. This case, they're helping their fellow American's get out of a tight spot. It's pretty gratifying."

He said that two-man team will stay as long as needed.

The Hammer Ace crew looks forward to welcoming their members home sometime Wednesday night.

TSgt. Fontaine said, "We did fulfill our role up there to provide that back-up."

He says they will be trained, loaded and ready to roll out when the next call to duty comes in.

The Hammer Ace team responds to plane crashes and natural disasters to establish emergency communications. However, their primary mission, for which they are prepared but not often used, is cases of nuclear disaster.

They are the only unit in the Department of Defense trained for that task.


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