Florida fighter jets head to Wright Patt to evade Hurricane Irma

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Florida fighter jets head to Wright Patt to evade Hurricane Irma

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SSgt. Glenn Fritch with the 125th Security Forces Squadron from the Florida Air National Guard watches over the 13 F-15 Eagles flown to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base until Tropical Storm Hanna passes by Florida. Base Spokesman Derek Kaufman exects more airplanes including F-15E Strike Eagles form Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina and C-17 Globemasters from Charleston AFB in South Carolina on Friday. Staff photo by Ty Greenlees.

Eight F-15 Eagle Florida Air National Guard fighter jets landed at Wright-Patterson on Thursday to evade the landfall of powerful Hurricane Irma, according to base officials.

The jets flying in from Jacksonville, Fla., were the first of what was expected to be an exodus of military aircraft landing at the airfield.

Arrivals were expected Friday of six more F-15s, eight P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine hunter jets from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., three C-17 Globemaster IIIs from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., and possibly four KC-130 aerial refueling tankers from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

Other units from the southeast United States could send aircraft to Wright-Patterson to act as a refuge from the fierce storm that reportedly had sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts up to 225 mph as it churns through the Atlantic.

Wright-Patterson’s 445th Airlift Wing flew a C-17 Globemaster III to Florida on Thursday morning to pick up a HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter and fly it to Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., according to wing spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cynthia Harris.

The wing flew C-17 hurricane relief missions last week to Texas after Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast.

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