Thank you for fantastic efforts during Hurricane Charley
by Col. Donald Halpin
Last week, MacDill's entire team faced some extremely challenging circumstances when it appeared an ever-strengthening Hurricane Charley was poised for a direct hit on the Tampa Bay area and the base.
First, it is most important to remember, that our good fortune turned into someone else's nightmare. Our collective hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by Hurricane Charley.
I also think it is important to tell each and every person living or working on MacDill how proud I am of you for what you accomplished last week. In the span of two days we had an orderly evacuation of the on-base residents, a phased departure of non-essential personnel, and prepared the base for the storm's coming--it could not have gone more smoothly. It was obvious to me, and many others, that you took our exercises seriously and were prepared to execute the plan.
The other highlight for me was the indomitable spirit across the base in the face of adversity. For two nights, maintainers and operators worked around the clock to ensure our aircraft were safely evacuated or secured during the storm. When the base was finally closed early Friday morning, and our ride-out and recovery personnel reported to their duty locations, you only continued to amaze me. For 48 hours, you made an exhibit hall a home, a work area and a command center. Our communicators keep critical nodes up and Security Forces patrolled our installation…and I never once heard a single complaint or saw a bad attitude.
On the contrary, I saw the best of the military spirit in each of you; ready to lend a hand, ready to perform when called upon and ready to make the best of a situation. It was a sight to behold and I am truly grateful--you made the task at hand that much easier.
In the end, we were fortunate enough to be left unscathed by the storm. Sadly, Hurricane Charley left a path of death and destruction where it did hit. MacDill stands ready to assist where needed.
Should such a situation arise again, I know I would be equally, if not more, impressed, with your professionalism, willingness and spirit--Active, Guard, reserve and civilian.
Thank you again for your Herculean efforts. You proved once again the MacDill team is truly world class.