Pilots are relocating B-1B Lancers and C-130J Super Hercules stationed in Texas as the Lone Star State braces for heavy storms on Thursday night into Friday morning.
Dyess Air Force Base, located near Abilene, Texas, began moving a total of eight B-1Bs and 14 C-130Js on Wednesday evening, a press release from the 7th Bomb Wing said. North Texas could see "large hail, damaging winds, and a couple tornadoes" throughout Thursday and overnight, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
The planes are being moved to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico and other locations across the country in preparation for the inclement weather.
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"This relocation not only protects our B-1 fleet from potential severe weather, but it also shows agile combat employment implementation," Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th Bomb Wing commander, said in the press release. "We appreciate Holloman's ability to host our aircraft and Airmen, and this effort demonstrates that this action is repeatable when necessary."
Col. Thomas Lankford, the 317th Airlift Wing commander at Dyess, said at first the airmen believed they'd be moving only three aircraft in preparation for the storms, but ended up having to relocate more than a dozen.
"The crews showed up this morning with an overnight bag but had no idea what was going to happen next," Lankford said in the release. "It is no easy task to show up thinking you'll launch 3 airplanes and instead get 14 in the air."
The 7th Bomb Wing comprises the largest number of B-1Bs in the Air Force's portfolio. It is part of Air Force Global Strike Command, which is in charge of nuclear deterrence for the military, though the B-1B itself is not currently equipped to handle a nuclear payload.
In preparation for the potential storms, Dyess began releasing personnel around 11 a.m. local time through 2 p.m., the base shared on Facebook.
Temperatures are expected to reach the low 80s, with strong south winds that could reach upward of 30 miles per hour.
Editor's Note: After publication, a spokeswoman contacted Military.com to provide the exact number of each type of aircraft moved.
-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.
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