Numbers Rise at Reserve Wing at Keesler Air Force Base
Keesler Air Force Base is used to seeing Flying Jennies soar in the sky and the Hurricane Hunters rush into storms. Now, they will see a rise in man power in the 403rd Reserve Wing. News 25’s Laurene Callander has the details.
Keesler Air Force Base raises the bar when it comes to their Hurricane Hunters and Flying Jennies. Now, they’re raising their manpower as a new unit joins the ranks of the 403rd Reserve Wing. Their mission is aircraft maintenance. 403rd Maintenance Group Commander Colonel Jay Johnson said, “From stem to stem, from nose to tail, they’ll be able to perform all the maintenance here at Keesler, other than heavy maintenance which they’ll have to take off station.”
Keesler officials tell News 25 these additional 145 crew members come at a perfect time. Commander of 403rd Wing Colonel Frank Amodeo said, “After we had a reduction in manpower because we thought ten planes were leaving, we’re bringing back that number of folks and we’re adding a little bit more, we’re probably adding another 140 people. We have the capability to do that because only 50 of those are full-time.”
The new unit will be working on maintaining the Flying Jennies when they come to Keesler Air Force Base. “What’s going to be good about having two separate aircraft maintenance squadrons is if I deploy the Hurricane Hunters to go do a mission, I still have the capability here to go do the tactical airlift mission and support that mission,” said Col. Amodeo.
With the new unit, the total number of men and women in the 403rd Wing rises to about 1,600. The heightened manpower better equips the 10 Hurricane Hunter planes and 10 Flying Jennies to soar in the air in tip-top shape and gives members in the Air Force the chance to see what the Gulf Coast has to offer. “The weather mission and the tactical aircraft are the same so the workforce is, there’s some continuity there of more is better but we’re excited for that new addition here on the Coast,” said Col. Johnson.