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EF-5 tornado hits near Tinker AFB

The Moore Medical Center – Norman Regional Hospital in Moore Okla., is ripped apart by the massive tornado on May 20, 2013.  The hospital was directly in the path of the 1.3 mile wide tornado that hit Moore in the late afternoon.  There were no casualties reported.  Cars flipped over and piled on top of one another along with cars that were cleared away by first responders fill the parking lot.  The Orange X spray painted on the cars indicates that the vehicle was checked and cleared of any victims.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hybers)

The Moore Medical Center in Moore Okla., was ripped apart by the massive EF-5 tornado on May 20, 2013. The hospital was directly in the path of the 1.3 mile wide tornado that hit Moore in the late afternoon. There were no casualties reported in the medical center. Cars flipped over and piled on top of one another along with cars that were cleared away by first responders fill the parking lot. The Orange X spray painted on the cars indicates that the vehicle was checked and cleared of any victims. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hybers)

A United States flag hangs from a home devastated by a tornado that hit the town of Moore; Okla. May 20; 2013 near Tinker Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

A United States flag hangs from a home devastated by a tornado that hit the town of Moore; Okla. May 20; 2013 near Tinker Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

Airman 1st Class Tracy Barnhill, 137th Maintenance Group surveys the damage of her mother’s house after devastating tornado hit the homes of those living in Moore, Okla., May 20, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hybers)

Airman 1st Class Tracy Barnhill, 137th Maintenance Group, Oklahoma Air National Guard surveys the damage of her mother’s house after devastating tornado hit the homes of those living in Moore, Okla., May 20, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hybers)

A military member cuts trees that were brought down on homes after a tornado hit the town of Moore, Okla. May 20, 2013.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

A military member cuts trees that were brought down on homes after a tornado hit the town of Moore, Okla. May 20, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

A United States flag flies from the ruble of a home destroyed in Moore, Okla. A powerful EF-5 tornado touched down approximately three miles south of Tinker AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

A United States flag flies from the ruble of a home destroyed in Moore, Okla. A powerful EF-5 tornado touched down approximately three miles south of Tinker AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Jon Quinlan)

A twisted up sign from SW 6th and Telephone Road landed in the front yard of 137th Air Refueling Wing Oklahoma Air National Guard member, Master Sgt. Cherry Bina.  Bina’s house was destroyed during the massive tornado that ripped through Moore Okla., on May 20, 2013.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hybers)

A twisted up sign from SW 6th and Telephone Road landed in the front yard of 137th Air Refueling Wing Oklahoma Air National Guard member, Master Sgt. Cherry Bina. Bina’s house was destroyed during the massive tornado that ripped through Moore Okla., on May 20, 2013. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hybers)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- Nearly 250 members of the Oklahoma National Guard, as well as members of Tinker Air Force Base are assisting with victim search and security in Moore, Okla., where a tornado left at least 24 dead, authorities said.

The twister hit Monday, May 20, about 3:15 p.m. CDT, just three miles south of Tinker.

"At this time, we are attempting to determine the specific impact to our personnel, their families and the local community," Col. Russell Muncy, the 507th ARW commander, said in a press release May 20.

Among National Guard members activated to assist in relief efforts were Airmen from the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron from nearby Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City.

In a video interview, 2nd Lt. Gabriel Bird said the unit members carry thermal imaging gear to help locate those buried in rubble.

"Hopefully, we'll find survivors," Bird said.

Members also carried multi-band radios to communicate with ground and aircraft crews, and basic medical supplies, Bird said. "We're a pretty new unit, so we haven't supported any state emergencies." But Bird noted that many squadron members are veterans who have supported other disaster recovery operations when assigned to other units.

According to Tinker public affairs, 12 base firefighters and one safety officer were dispatched immediately to assist rescue efforts in the Moore area, and one surgeon was dispatched to the Oklahoma University Medical Center.

"In light of the devastating tornadoes that have hit the Oklahoma City area, I tasked the Airman and Family Readiness Center to stand up the Emergency Family Assistance Center 24/7 to ensure Tinker personnel and their families receive effective support during this most difficult time," said Col. Steven Bleymaier, commander of the 72nd Air Base Wing.

More information on disaster relief efforts can be found at the Tinker Air Force Base public website, www.tinker.af.mil.