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Team Holloman stands ready as hurricane season continues

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- As the anniversary of one of the deadliest natural disasters in history approaches, Team Holloman remains prepared for anything. 

According to Col. William Goad, 49th Material Maintenance Group commander, the 49 MMG maintains a constant state of readiness regarding equipment that might be tasked to support any Department of Defense or FEMA humanitarian operations. 

"This state of readiness is commensurate with normal operating procedures to support contingency operations," he said. "We are ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our group's motto is, anytime, anywhere, at a moment's notice." 

While the 49 MMG primarily provides Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources Base equipment for wartime purposes, it also provides contingency support for humanitarian crises. 

According to Colonel Goad, BEAR sets are essentially deployable air bases and are robust enough to meet a variety of contingency response requirements. The sets provide power generation and distribution, water production and distribution, personnel and industrial shelter systems, airfield support systems, personnel hygiene systems and personnel feeding and services systems. 

The 49 MMG deployed 995 short tons of equipment via air and 282 short tons via surface in support of Hurricane Katrina relief operations last year. Additionally, more than 40 Team Holloman members from the 49 MMG alone deployed in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and more than 300 stand ready to go this year, should the need arise. 

"The members of the 49 MMG were proud for the opportunity to apply their knowledge and provide support to other Americans along the Gulf Coast during their time of need," the colonel said. 

He said it's important for them to always have their guard up for these types of situations because until national emergency relief or state and local agencies have postured themselves for future U.S. disasters, the 49 MMG will stand ready to support humanitarian relief efforts when called upon. 

Senior Master Sgt. David Berridge, team chief for deployed BEAR Base Airmen last year, said deploying members of BEAR Base was an obvious choice because of their technical expertise in setting up tent cities. 

He said they complemented civil engineer forces with guidance to ensure the BEAR assets stayed working got set up correctly. He said they also provided training to other deployed units in order to erect all the shelters being put up. 

Leadership took note of lessons learned with the short-notice deployment last year and are doing a few things differently in preparation this year. 

"49 MMG has altered our internal deployment process to satisfy dual-mode deployment for processing and moving equipment via air and surface simultaneously," said Colonel Goad. 

In addition to changing up the deployment process, BEAR Base now also provides information to higher headquarters with updates on the type and amount of equipment 49 MMG could provide in the event of an emergency. 

Hurricane Katrina wasn't the first time Holloman was called upon in the wake of a disaster, and being home to the only BEAR Base in the Air Force, it will surely not be the last.