The U.S. Military has started moving jets from the East Coast to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth.
F-16s from Florida have already arrived in North Texas. Another 100 aircraft are expected through Friday. Depending on Hurricane Irma's path, the number could double.
With the clock ticking toward landfall, the pilots and crew of the F-16s have taken their jets out of harm’s way.
"We do not want to take chances with our aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Bill McLeod. “That's what we do: we fly aircraft. And we can't fly them if they're broken in a hanger somewhere."
The F-16s are from Homestead Air Reserve Base, south of Miami. F-35s and f/a-18s are also coming from the Marine Corps air station in Beaufort, South Carolina. 120 aircraft are scheduled to arrive in Fort Worth.
While their jets are safe, there's still considerable concern for the family and friends who stayed behind.
"I've got my team right here that's worried about their family as well back home,” McLeod said. “They take care of their own. Families are being taken care of as far as evacuation so our men and women here can keep their minds on what they're doing."
The arriving aircraft will share space with planes that are still in Fort Worth assisting with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Depending on Irma's path, another 100 military planes from two other bases could evacuate as well.
It's not the first time the flight crews have been deployed. But this time, it's not the same.
"Our hearts and minds are with our families and friends in Florida right now,” Mcleod said. “Doing this mission comes second nature. But when you throw the added worry about our families and friends, it adds a new element to it."
C-130 National Guard planes from all over the country have been in Fort Worth. They came to fly missions to and from the Texas coast as they are needed.