Altus Airmen combat record setting weather

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kayla Christenson
  • Altus Air Force Base Public Affairs

The 97th Air Mobility Wing received over five and a half inches of snow and freezing temperatures Feb. 14-17, 2021 resulting in a base wide effort to take care of Airmen and families, recover operations, and preserve the installation.

From working 12-hour shifts to ensure safety to standing up a mass care shelter, several agencies including the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron, 97th Maintenance Group, and 97th Security Forces Squadron teamed up to help the base resume normal operations.

Airmen from 97th Civil Engineer Squadron worked to fix heating units, broken pipes and clear roads of snow and ice, among other tasks.

“We're making sure that everybody can get onto base safely and that we can continue the training mission that we have here,” said 1st Lt. Zachary Wontrop, 97th CES snow and ice officer in charge.

“The [civil engineer] team has been going nonstop since last week when we started getting this cold weather,” said Col. Matthew Leard, 97th AMW commander. “We've still got a lot of work to do.”

Raymond Brzozowski, 97th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director, said maintainers were able to draw from their depth of experience to do their part to keep the base’s critical training mission going.

“Inclement weather doesn’t stop our adversaries nor our responsibility to defend the nation,” he said. “While it’s a little unusual to have these conditions here, we have technicians and aircrew instructors who have operated under these conditions in the past.  Safely executing the mission, graduating students and keeping America’s defense strong is why we come out here every day, regardless of the weather.”

Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay, 97th AMW command chief, expressed his thanks in a message to the wing.

“Thank you for your quick responses, getting heat turned back on, water lines fixed, and everything else,” said Kay. “We wouldn’t be able to do the mission without every single one of you.”