Combat Camera flies with Hurricane Hunters

  • Published
  • By Maj. Hamilton B. Underwood

It’s not often that Air Force Reservists arrive at a Unit Training Assembly “weekend drill” and in short order find themselves flying into an eye of a hurricane, but that’s exactly what happened to Staff Sgt. Kyle Brasier and Staff Sgt. Corban Lundborg, 4th Combat Camera Squadron, Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

The two combat camera Citizen Airmen were en route from their homes in Stevensville, Mich. and Venice, Calif., respectively, when they were informed the UTA had been postponed due the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma in Charleston. They arrived as the evacuation order was issued and immediately attempted to book return flights home, but were diverted to the hurricane instead of away from it.

Air Force Reserve Command rerouted the Citizen Airmen to Keesler Air Force Base. Miss. where they joined their fellow Citizen Airmen of 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, "The Hurricane Hunters.” The combat camera Airmen soon found themselves in a WC-130J Super Hercules flying though the eye of Hurricane Irma documenting efforts to collect weather data using an externally dropped sensors.

The sensors provide accurate weather data to the National Hurricane Center. Low-level, real-time data collection in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean tropical weather system is vital mission that is a unique capability found only in the Air Force Reserve.

An artist who makes his living working in multiple mediums, Lundborg recently joined the 4 CTCS. “This is exactly why I joined combat camera. I can combine my talent for visual storytelling and my desire to serve my country into a single action that has an immediate impact. ”

Lundborg’s video has been picked up by MSN, The Daily Telegraph in UK, Yahoo news and other media organizations reaching millions with near real-time imagery and showcasing a vital Air Force Reserve mission. To see the video and other Department of Defense imagery captured in support of Hurricane Irma operations:

A photojournalist who recently completely back-to-back missions in support of Mobility Guardian and Patriot Warrior, Brasier was ready for the next opportunity to tell Air Force story.

“I take tremendous pride in being an Air Force Reservist and when I can tell the Citizen Airmen story it’s awesome,” said Brasier. “These Hurricane Hunters have an importantl mission that I enjoyed documenting.”

The two Citizen Airmen flew two missions passing through the eye of Hurricane Irma eight times before heading home after 22 hours of flight time with the 53 WRS.

Now that’s a drill weekend!

315th AW Facebook   315th AW on  Instagram    315th AW on YouTube   Dvids   Behind the Wing Podcast