Two years after a flood, the 9th PSPTS reopens

  • Published
  • By Airman Juliana Londono
  • 9RW/PA

After experiencing a major flood two years ago, the 9th Physiological Support Squadron (PSPTS) has finally returned home. 

On January 6, 2019, water filled the lower level of the building. The water  had completely flooded the PSPTS basement and the area where they operated the launch and recovery team (LRT) had two feet of water. 

Airmen took immediate action and were able to quickly adapt and overcome this by creating a temporary staging area  to continue supporting the mission.

“Through that whole process, relocating and standing up a second PSPTS home, flying did not stop, we did not take a knee,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Armstrong, 9th PSPTS aircrew flight equipment superintendent. “We had two ERT [en-route recovery team] jets set to launch the day of the flood, and we managed to get one of the jets in the air that same day.” 

Normally, operations allowed for six pilots to be suited up at a time, during the temporary move, two to three pilots were able to be processed through the LRT. 

Additionally, with the altitude chamber not being operational, the 9th PSPTS couldn’t conduct aircrew training. Those who would conduct training here had to go to various other locations to accomplish it.

“Trying to use another building that is not designed for our job is difficult , but we made it work because we had to,” said Staff Sgt David LaBarge, 9th PSPTS suit maintenance section chief. “It was basically two years of deployment operations,  on a larger scale of course, but now we are back and once the chamber is back online it'll be even better.” 

Even with all these issues they continued to do their job because pilots still had to fly and do their job.

Operating in altered conditions for more than two years took all the 9th PSPTS members working as a team to continue the mission. Additionally, the long awaited move back into the 9th PSPTS  building would not have been possible without the help of different groups from around the base, from maintainers to civil engineers. 

“The morale is so much better being in this space, because it is our space,” said Lt. Col. Alisha Earls, 9th PSPTS commander. “In the temporary building, we were tenants and although we tried our best to make it ours, it wasn't. It’s just like being in your home, so it has given us a sense of belonging and brought us closer together, like a family.”

The 9th PSPTS has been able to move back into their original facility and have resumed normal operations. Once their final section move is complete and the altitude chamber is ready for use, everyone will finally be together.

“To have everyone under one roof and working together is great,” Armstrong said. “We are all right there in our home where we belong and are moving forward.”