As the Air Force was responding to the Harvey relief effort, bases across Florida and the region began preparing for Hurricane Irma, which was brewing as a Category 5 storm in the Caribbean. F-15s, F-16s, A-10s, KC-135s, C-130s, C-17s, C-146s, and HH-60s from bases in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico were forced to flee. This included F-16s from Homestead Air Reserve Base near Miami, which almost exactly 25 years earlier was severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew.
As the aircraft fled the storm, bases such as Moody, Maxwell AFB, Ala., and JB Charleston, S.C., became staging areas for the massive response to Irma.
More than 950 airmen were involved in the large relief effort on the ground in the region, including search and rescue operations. Mobility aircraft from across the country responded with airlift to ferry passengers out of harm’s way.