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Military Perspective of Hurricane Andrew

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Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 2:00 am

   Joining the 482d Fighter Wing at Homestead Air Force Base in January 1992 was exactly what Katdo Robinson wanted. The aircraft maintenance man finished his initial enlistment in the active Air Force and decided to join the Reserves. In looking back twenty-five years, now Command Chief Master Sergeant, he and his wife were happy to be settling close to her mother who lived near Kendall. Within a few months, news they were expecting their first child thrilled them as well. “We were sent on a deployment to Aviano Air Base in Italy,” he recalled. “We didn’t pay a lot of attention initially to reports of Hurricane Andrew because no one expected it to hit.”

   Their shock at the devastation was compounded by the fact they couldn’t easily communicate with loved ones. “Young people can’t imagine what it was like before cell phones and emails. There was a phone bank at the recreation center, but it was difficult to get through and even if you could, that didn’t mean you could reach who you were trying to.”

   They did redeploy the teams who were stunned at the destruction of Homestead Air Force Base. “We finally got here and our house was destroyed, there were no street signs left, and almost every landmark was wiped out. There was no water or power so it was almost three weeks before we could work at the base and General Larry Tucker was the man who realized we had to stand up for our F-16s. We cleaned up what we could and flew the planes to Wright Patterson (Ohio), then they sent us to McDill Air Force Base (Tampa). We kept our pilots trained and aircraft ready. We had our families to take care of, but we also had to do everything we could to keep our unit together.”

   One of his most vivid memories of the personal aftermath was how willing people were to help each other. “Yes, bad things like theft happened. More than that though was the unbelievable caring among the community. We were all in it together. Someone would see someone walking along the road, especially if they had children and they would always stop to offer a ride or water or see if there was anything they could do for them. It’s the kind of thing you remember.”

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