Local Airmen Use Technology To Help With Hurricane Recovery Efforts

Posted at 7:11 PM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 20:13:18-04

Airmen with the 118th Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard have been helping with hurricane recovery efforts in Houston all the way from Nashville. 

Twelve trained airmen have been collecting and analyzing satellite and aircraft images to specifically help assess damage on oil refineries and water treatment facilities. 

"These airmen are using commercial software and public domain imagery to provide assessment and awareness to folks on the ground," Colonel Keith Allbritten told NewsChannel 5. 

They are using skill sets that can extract more information from the image than an average person could. The domestic operation has been in progress for almost one week. 

"Our men are able to zoom out and see where the areas that need attention the fastest, process the information and deliver it to commanders and decision makers in Texas so they can focus their efforts," Colonel Brandon Beightol said. 

Members have the ability to view potentially dangerous problems like facilities overflowing and oil slicks. 

"The damage that we have found is probably manageable, and that information is just as viable if something is cartographically damaged," Col. Beightol added.

The same type of operation was used during the wildfires in east Tennessee with before and after pictures. The unit was able to determine a more accurate number of structures destroyed or damaged. 

Col. Beightol said they have begun to plan for Hurricane Irma but so far they haven't been asked to help.

The 118th Wing is the oldest air national guard unit in the South and has transitioned to conduct several intelligence missions in 2012. 

There are currently 1,100 airmen in the wing.