Hurricane Florence military preparations: Fort Bragg evacuates aircraft

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- Just as we've been reminding residents to prepare, our nation's military is doing the same.

On Tuesday, the 82nd Airborne Division's Combat Aviation Brigade started moving out all of its Apache helicopters. Those are choppers used in warfare. The Apaches are going to the Atlanta Area because the hangars on Fort Bragg may not be able to sustain the winds that Hurricane Florence is packing.

With billions in government assets on the line, the 82nd Airborne Division made the decision to evacuate.

MORE: Full coverage of Hurricane Florence

"A lot of the responsibility is to protect the interest of the government. We also have the responsibility to maintain readiness so if we lose these aircraft to a storm, it impacts our ability to be ready in case of any type of contingency worldwide," said Lt. Col. Brian Hummel.

While the 82nd CAB moved out, FEMA moved in. FEMA is staging all of its assets on Fort Bragg ahead of Hurricane Florence.

Tuesday, truckloads of MRE's, water and equipment continued to fill Simmons Army Airfield. Close behind was Gov, Roy Cooper who came to tour the staging grounds and meet with Fort Bragg officials and local governments about preparations.

Preparations look a little different this time around. Instead of the supplies sitting on post until officials figure out where the need is, they're already going out into the flood-prone areas. Cooper told ABC11 that decision was based on lessons learned from storms past. That's why he's urging the state to take this seriously.

"I know North Carolinians are a hardy bunch. We've seen hurricanes and nor'easters before. This storm is different; it's going to be intense, historic and deadly," Cooper said.

FEMA said it has brought enough resources to support parts of South Carolina and Virginia as well.