LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- A total of 79 Luke Airmen from various backgrounds and units are supporting relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Since this weekend, 56th Fighter Wing Airmen were sent to Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., which incurred extensive damage from the hurricane. A large concentration of Airmen and equipment from across the Air Force are moving to the base near Biloxi, Miss., to assist the base and Air Force families.
Some Luke Airmen may move forward from Keesler to other locations along the gulf coast, including New Orleans. The Airmen will provide a helping hand following one of the nation's worst natural disasters.
Among the Luke Airmen are combat engineers, communications specialists, maintainers, chaplain assistants, medical personnel as well as command post, public affairs and services professionals.
Of the 79 Airmen, 54 are from the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron. The engineers will assist their Keesler counterparts in securing the installation's perimeter, clearing debris, and working to house displaced personnel and relief workers. Electrical, power production, structural and utilities technicians are included in the group.
Nine Airmen will assist with food preparation and housing arrangements to help feed and billet military personnel who are supporting relief efforts along the entire gulf coast region.
Another seven Airmen are from the 56th Medical Group representing various medical specialties, including a physician, a nurse, a medical technician, three medical administration Airmen and one medical logistician. They are part of an expeditionary medical support team setting up to provide care for active-duty military members and their families.
"The men and women of Luke are supporting our Air Force as part of a nationwide effort to help as many people as possible," said Col. Robin Rand, 56th Fighter Wing commander. "It's an honor and a privilege for our Airmen to help our nation at such an important time."
In addition to supporting the hurricane relief effort, Luke Airmen have also been tasked to deploy to areas in and around Iraq and Afghanistan to replace Air Force members whose families have been devastated by the hurricane.
Luke's Chapel donated the offering collected on Sept. 4 to the Keesler AFB and gulf region relief efforts.