WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
Severe storms and accompanying tornadoes inflicted significant damage across the Miami Valley May 27, 2019. Fifteen confirmed tornadoes, reaching wind speeds of up to 170 mph, touched down throughout the Dayton area.
Nearly a dozen Airmen from the 445th Airlift Wing living at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and surrounding communities experienced damage to their property.
“My home was one of the homes affected,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Knight, a flight line expeditor with the 445th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “It was hard to wrap my mind around everything that had happened, but I couldn’t have asked for any more help than my squadron provided. Day-by-day, we have been picking up the pieces and reaching out to our community to see where we can provide similar support.”
The response from 445th Airmen who engaged in disaster relief activities and provided assistance to those affected by the storms was overwhelming. Several squadrons within the wing readily volunteered to assist their fellow Airmen. Many Airmen volunteered their personal time outside of their military commitment to bring help and hope to their neighbors throughout the community who still desperately need support.
“There’s so much to do, but at the same time it feels like there’s nothing I can do,” said 2nd Lt. Anthony J. Busellato, 445th Logistics Readiness Squadron. “We brought water and helped clean up, but I wish we could do much more.”
There was a recurring theme amongst all those who were in one way or another involved in the aftermath of the storms. The focus extended beyond the individuals themselves and centered on the community coming together to aid their fellow Airmen.
The teamwork required to enhance mission effectiveness was displayed by all Airmen involved, and it showed that the dedication and self-sacrifice required to support the wing does not leave Airmen when they leave base.
“We had to determine very quickly where we needed to help,” said Lt. Col. Suzanne Dean, 445th AMXS commander. “We had eight individuals affected from our squadron alone. After we assessed the situation, we determined that we needed to help, and the quicker we were able to help, the quicker we could restore normalcy. It is still a continuing process, but we will not stop doing everything that we can for our Air Force family.”
Similar to the ongoing needs of the Air Force, the commitment Airmen make to themselves and to others demands self-sacrifice. The process isn’t always quick, but it is necessary.
“Just observing the widespread devastation around the area on day one made us feel like we were needed,” said Senior Master Sgt. Amanda A. Crooker, 445th AMXS production. “It has been a slow process for everyone that was affected. The recovery is coming along, but there is still a long way to go.”
The willingness of 445th Airmen to respond to the local disaster and to continue their support over time showed that the universal commitment to service extends beyond the wing mission and allows members to utilize their skills when they are needed at home just as efficiently as when they are needed abroad.