Air Force Students Flee To Keesler

Raking leaves and cleaning up around Keesler are not what students from the Pensacola Naval Air Station are supposed to be doing. They should be in class learning about aircraft maintenance, inspection and other skills. But thanks to Hurricane Ivan, class is out indefinitely.

Airman Basic Jody Bryd says, "I'm glad to be here and I'm also anxious to figure out what we're gonna be doin' cause we're all kinda in standby right now so nobody knows really what's gonna happen as of right now."

Bryd and 281 other students are being housed at Keesler because the storm damaged their dorms in Pensacola.

Airman 1st Class Bennett Wicker says "Right now we're kinda on standby just waiting to see what our next move is. We're helping out with details, cleanup details on this base just trying to stay occupied."

Wicker was supposed to graduate last Friday, the same day he and his wife got to Keesler. They were just days away from being assigned to a new base.

"I have actually been looking for a house because we're supposed to be stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in like a week, so basically house hunting," says Jennifer Wicker.

It could be awhile before the Wickers move into their new house, since no decisions have been made about the students future.

Chris Cook, Commander of the 338th Training Squadron says, "We do not have the facilities for them to be trained at what they were doing at Pensacola Air Station. Now what we're trying to do is determine if that training can be diverted here to Keesler or whether it needs to be distributed to other bases."

Cook says he doesn't know how long the students will call Keesler their temporary home.