Air Force Reserve serves 'Mosquito Mojito' in East Texas

C-130H aircraft treats 1.1 million acres of land for mosquitoes

SAN ANTONIO – The 910th Airlift Wing Aerial Spray Mission Team is conducting aerial sprays following Hurricane Harvey on an Air Force Reserve C-130H aircraft equipped with a modular aerial spray system.

"There is always a potential the mosquitoes can transmit diseases to the public, and we're trying to prevent that," said Lt. Col. Bart Elsea, mission commander for the mosquito control aerial spray mission.

Local military officials requested Department of Defense support because the scope of the disaster is beyond the capacity of available civilian mosquito control resources.

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More than 1.1 million acres of land in East Texas have been treated since operations began Sept. 9.

"We do a lot of planning ahead of time," Elsea said. "We get the areas that are being requested to be treated, and we get that from the command center. And once we get that information, they plot out the areas, and we get the planning during the day."

Crews show up in the evening and get a briefing before taking off from the Kelly Field Annex.

"They leave around 6, 6:30, depending on where they are going to go to, and they look at the area to make sure there is nothing there that is unexpected," Elsea said.

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The crew consists of two pilots, two navigators and spray operators.

"The mosquitoes that we are looking are more active at the night time," Elsea said.