It is hard to see or hear, but a giant C130 has been flying over Lehigh Acres.
“These types of training events allow us to do our actual real-world mission,” said Mark Breidenbaugh, an Air Force aerial spray flight chief entomologist.
The mission is something most constituents wouldn’t think the Air Force is battling. In this case, its opponent is mosquitoes. Breidenbaugh is part of a team that flies in during emergencies — to kill the potentially deadly insect known to spread disease.
“Areas that don’t normally have flooding,” Breidenbaugh said, “all of a sudden are producing mosquitoes.”
After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the Air Force used planes to spray pesticide, covering three million acres.
“For the folks living in Texas it was very crucial,” Breidenbaugh said. “They used all their resources in the state.”
Despite having numerous hurricanes in Florida, Breidenbaugh said, the area uses its mosquito operations rather than the U.S. military’s.
It is a reason the Air Force and other mosquito control districts around the country come to Lee County for training.
Now it is just water being used Wednesday, but with a sample card, they can tell how big the droplets are being dispersed. Then, that is used to determine its effectiveness.
“Over six decades we’ve been doing state of the art mosquito control,” said Eric Jackson, who works at Lee County mosquito control, “and we continue to learn from each other.”