Air Pressure C-130s fly mosquito management spray ops in assist of Hurricane Delta, Laura, restoration efforts
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. –
U.S. Air Force C-130H Hercules aircraft equipped with Modular Aerial Spray Systems (MASS), and approximately 85 Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, based in Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, to conduct mosquito control aerial spray missions South Louisiana.
The C-130 and its crews, including pilots, flight engineers, navigators, load masters who also act as spray operators and entomologists, have been spraying since October 20, 2020, and have treated nearly half a million acres by October 25. 2020. Ground support personnel for the mission include additional entomologists, operational support mission planners, flight spray maintenance, communications, aircraft maintenance, squadron aircraft resource managers, flight equipment for flight crews and a command team including a mission commander, an operations supervisor and a mission first sergeant and Public Affairs Representative.
At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and with approval from the Department of Defense, the US Northern Command activated the 910th AW to provide spraying capabilities in support of civil authorities in Louisiana.
“Our military has the privilege of helping the Interagent team and the people of Louisiana recover from recent Hurricanes Delta and Laura,” said Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, first Air Force commander, Air Forces Northern. “The Air Force Reserve’s 910th spray flight typically performs dusk and night spray missions using night vision technology when pest insects are most active, and the men and women of the 910th are longtime professionals on the mission.”
Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH), the U.S. Air Force’s air component command, is the Department of Defense’s chief operations officer for the mission.
The heavy rains of recent hurricanes have resulted in increased mosquitos living in large areas of southwest Louisiana, which can spread disease and also hamper salvage workers, resulting in less time in the field. The governor’s homeland security and emergency preparedness says the C-130 should spray in the Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, and Vermilion communities.
“The 910th is here to support the people of Louisiana in their distress by offering our unique airborne spray capability,” said Lt. Col. Sean Grenier, commander of the 910th mission, which flies from Barksdale. “We stand ready to spray as long as the areas assigned by FEMA and AFNORTH are treated.”
Grenier added that the 2nd Bombing Wing, the host unit at Barksdale, provided invaluable assistance to the 910th such as facility use and logistical support during spraying operations.
The 910th Airlift Wing spray missions use only Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered materials. Aerial Spray is a highly controlled application that uses a specially designed Modular Aerial Spray System (MASS) that dispenses no more than an ounce of product per morning.
The 910th AW hosts the Department of Defense’s only spray capability and a dedicated flight for spray maintenance. The last time the 910th AW supported FEMA’s hurricane recovery efforts with its airborne spray mission was in 2017, when they treated 2.7 million acres of affected areas after Hurricane Harvey.