Wednesday, May 11, 2022

“An abuse of government assets” Five Hurricane Hunters disciplined for stop in Martha’s Vineyard

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron has returned to its vintage paint scheme and the ‘Weather’ markings on the tail flash. The first of ten WC-130J Super Hercules returned after getting the new glossy paint and sits next to the tactical gray painted version at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, on April 5. 

BILOXI, Mississippi (WLOX) - A five-member crew from Keesler’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron is being disciplined for adding a personal stop to a flight itinerary in order to pick up a crewmember’s motorcycle.

On March 24, the crew left Keesler Air Force Base and landed at Quonset Air National Guard Base in Rhode Island. The next day, unbeknownst to 403rd leadership, the crew added Martha’s Vineyard Airport to the itinerary to retrieve a crewmember’s 1970 BMW R75/5 motorcycle. The crew then continued their mission onto Mather, California, to pick up 403rd Wing equipment that was staged there for atmospheric river mission support.

On March 27, leadership was notified of the stop and they immediately grounded the crew at Mather. Another crew was sent to pick up the aircraft and crew the next day. The motorcycle remains in California.

“Air Force Reserve crews must put in flight training time each month to keep their qualifications, and off-station training achieves valid training requirements,” said Col. Stuart M. Rubio, 403rd Wing commander. “This personal stop was an abuse of government assets. We hold our reservists to the highest standards of conduct and these actions are not tolerated.”

All aircrew members were downgraded on crew qualifications and administrative actions have been served.

Better known as the “Hurricane Hunters,” the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 403rd Wing, is the only unit in the Department of Defense that flies into tropical storms to gather weather data for National Hurricane Center forecasts, data that satellites can’t collect. During the winter months, they fly winter storms on the East Coast and atmospheric rivers, massive bands of moisture that cause huge amounts of rainfall and flooding, on the West Coast to improve forecasts.

To accomplish these missions, the unit deploys to various locations to get closer to these weather systems; thus, aircrews go to various locations to train and operate and these locations are chosen based on training value.


  1. if only the rest of the federal govt was so stringent with taxpayer $

    1. as abuse of publicly traded corporation $$$$..

  2. At first I wondered why the enlisted was subject to the disciplinary action as well, and then I got to the part about the motorcycle. He may have loaded it.

    Even then, wasn't he just following the orders of the officers in command?

  3. The R75 is an awesome old bike. Not saying it was the right move, but I understand.