Installations recovering from damage sustained by winter weather

Snow covered B-52H Stratofortresses sit on the flightline at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 19. Barksdale measured approximately four inches of snow Feb. 14 and 15. An additional two inches of snow and sleet were recorded on Feb. 17. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman) Airman Brody Yates, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron structural apprentice, places mesh tape on a wall to fill in gaps to place joint compound in a room at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 9. Members of CES’s from Travis AFB, Calif., Charleston AFB, S.C., F.E. Warren AFB, and Minot AFB, N.D., aided Dyess personnel with repairing a building affected by winter weather damage. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David Owsianka)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. – While it did not impact the command’s mission, some Air Force Global Strike Command installations sustained significant damage from winter storms in February and March.

The recent winter storms left eight installations across the command in freezing temperatures, displacing some Airmen and families, disrupting operations and damaging infrastructure.

F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, Minot AFB, North Dakota, Dyess AFB, Texas, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, and Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, all received some form of damage between $20,000 to over $1 million.

The infrastructure at installations such as Dyess and Barksdale are not designed to handle near subzero temps. Of the eight bases affected, Dyess incurred the highest financial impact, with over $1.4 million in damages. Facilities across the installation saw challenges from water damage due to burst pipes, loss of potable water for 24 hours, but other Airmen from around the country stepped in to offer assistance.

Dyess received civil engineering personnel help from multiple installations in the weeks following the storms. From repairing buildings, replacing drywall to helping with plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit support, members of the Civil Engineer Squadrons from Travis AFB, California, Charleston AFB, South Carolina, F.E. Warren AFB, Ellsworth AFB, Dover AFB, Delaware, and Minot AFB aided Dyess personnel by constructing and repairing buildings and structures.

While current damage estimates across the command currently sit at over $4 million, the command is still tallying total costs. The numbers could change based on actual costs as facility repairs are completed.

While the severe weather may have wreaked havoc on southern tier installations, northern tier bases, like F.E. Warren, are designed to withstand these conditions.  In the case of F.E. Warren, a major snowstorm in mid-march brought more than 36 inches of additional snow, continuing to affect operations and leaving the possibility for increased costs but early planning and active engagement by base leaders at every level, minimized the storm’s impact.

As reports are completed and funding for the damage has been approved, repairs are being closely tracked and accounted for with the assistance from Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center in San Antonio.

 “AFGSC successfully withstood many challenges in the past year, and this storm is no different,” said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Hoffman, AFGSC Command Chief Master Sergeant. “Our Striker Airmen are resilient and remain ready. As with all challenges, during the storm they took care of the mission and each other, as we go forward we will look at lessons learned and better prepare ourselves for the future.”