The U.S. military Thursday moved aircraft from bases aligned with the forecast path of Hurricane Irene as private pilots organized emergency services for the already-stricken Bahamas. An estimated 78 military aircraft were to be moved off of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base at New Hope, N.C. The exodus included F-15Es and KC-135 Stratotankers. In Jacksonville, Marines moved V-22 Ospreys, AH-1W Super Cobras Hueys and Super Stallion helicopters from New River Air Station to safer locales. Meanwhile, a pilot-oriented U.S.-based nonprofit was organizing disaster-relief flights to aid with recovery in the Bahamas.
Bahamas Habitat announced earlier in the week that it would conduct relief flights to the Bahamas as soon as practical. The group began work by assessing damage and the needs of people affected by the storm. Using Orlando as a staging point, volunteers coordinated pilots, planes and donations. The same group organized 400 missions to Haiti when a crippling earthquake hit that country last year. Bahamas Habitat is a Christian-based organization that also serves to introduce pilots to mission-flying opportunities.