Sept. 30, 21

Minutes of the September 30, 2021 Meeting

The Rotary Club of Mobile


Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order by Elizabeth Stevens at 12:15 PM.


Bob Chappelle offered the invocation. Tommy Blankenship led the Pledge of Allegiance and  introduced the meeting guests.




  • RYLA will be March 4-7, 2022 at Camp ASCCA
  • Reminder that Rotary General Grant Fund applications are on our website
  • Barton Academy homecoming (spirit) week is October 4-8. The ribbon cutting for the renovated structure will be October 7 @ 4:00pm with an open house the same day 4:30-6:30
  • A flyer was on each table at today’s meeting for the Purple Pinkie Donut Project
  • Save the Date: Rotary Annual Gala, evening of Thursday October 28 on the USS Alabama. No regular meeting that day.
  • Member birthdays: Sept 30 Bruce Earnest, Oct 1 Walter Bell, Oct 2 Bill Smithweck and Oct 5 George Talbot.


Program: Doug Otto / USAF 53rd Recon Squadron, Hurricane Hunters. Introduced by Sumpter McGowin.



Doug Otto recently retired from the Corps of Engineers’ Mobile District, where he served as the Chief of the Engineering Division. A licensed Professional Engineer, he was responsible for all engineering services for the District’s Civil Works and Military programs. In addition to his engineering career, he also served in the Air Force Reserve for over thirty years, retiring as a Colonel in 2015. As a Command Pilot with over 4,000 military flight hours, he is a veteran of Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield, and over 150 hurricane eyewall penetrations while serving as the Commander of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters.” He earned a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech, a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from Auburn University, and is a graduate of the USAF War College. As a spouse of a working wife, his current career goals are to ensure the meals are made, the laundry folded, and the kids get where they need to be.


Mr Otto gave a very interesting presentation of the Hurricane Hunter program from an insider’s perspective. He was a pilot in the program for some years. The “hurricane mission” runs from June 1-November 30 of each year. The group has ten aircraft (C-130s) and incorporate five people on each flight. They are based at Keesler AFB in Mississippi with forward operations bases in Curacao, St. Croix and Pearl Harbor. Each mission flies both diagonally, and vertically covering the perimeter of the hurricane/tropical storm and directly through the eye of the storm. A number of measurements are taken during the flight including wind speed, barometric pressure etc with all info being fed real time to the National Hurricane Center. The goal of each flight is to provide enough accurate information in order to narrow the cone of potential landfall. As a result, less people need to be evacuated etc. The squadron also flies wintertime flights for various types of seasonal storms. Mr. Otto then answered a number of questions from Rotarians.


President Stevens thanked Mr Otto for his presentation and noted that, in his honor, a donation had been made by the club to the Mobile Symphony for a child to attend “Chamber Strings”.




The meeting adjourned at 12:59 PM.


Rob Diehl