The lightning storm that we had a couple of days ago has got me thinking a lot about hurricanes. The East End of Long Island really hasn’t experienced a real hurricane since hurricane Bonnie. Sure there have been some bad ones, but for the most part they have been offshore and haven’t hit land since then.
If you live out here or visit a lot, then you know that Long Island pretty much goes bananas when there is a hurricane. I can remember being a lifeguard at Main Beach in East Hampton and witnessing power lines going down, car accidents, extremely powerful waves and surf that lead to numerous need for rescues, and of course, incredible tree damage and house damage.
Well, I guess I’m not the only one thinking about dangerous weather, because this morning at Gabreski Air Base in Westhampton Beach, the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing began conducting drills on what to do in the event of a serious hurricane. They did this in association with the New York Naval Militia’s Military Emergency Boat Service. The drills included para-rescue, which is arguably the hardest training that the military offers. These men were the subjects of the book, “The Perfect Storm”. To become a “PJ” takes roughly 2 years of training, and the schooling involved is known as “Superman School“. Training entails being submerged in ice-water mercilessly, impossible swims at night with nothing but flippers, helicopter jumps, and even weeks of simply walking everywhere you go while carrying a 200 pound rope on your body.
These boys don’t mess around.
So if you’re in Westhampton today and happen to see a military helicopter with superhuman-like men jumping out of it into the water, that’s them. The official Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1 to November 30.