Tyndall Air Force Base editorial by Ralph Williams
Tyndall AFB is located in the middle of the Florida Panhandle near Panama City, Florida. The base is home to the 325th Fighter Wing of the Air Combat Command. On Oct. 10, 2018, the base was heavily damaged by category 4 strength Hurricane Michael and is currently undergoing extensive repairs to most of its facilities. With billions required for repairs and renovations, the base projects are forecast to be completed between 2022 and 2024. Update on Tyndall AFB since Hurricane Michael.
The history of Tyndall AFB began in 1941 when it began as Army Air Force Flexible Gunnery School No. 9. Later that year, the base would be named Tyndall Field and ultimately Tyndall Air Force Base in honor of 1st Lt. Frank B. Tyndall, a World War One fighter ace who was awarded the Silver Star for his combat actions and later died in an air crash.
From its World War Two mission as a gunnery training base, Tyndall transitioned to a fighter interceptor base during the Cold War. Until Hurricane Michael’s direct path over Tyndall, it was home to the 325th Fighter Wing which provided training for all F-22A Raptor pilots. Some of these units and personnel have been relocated to other Air Force bases until Tyndall’s infrastructure is functional for their missions again. The Air Force is instituting a massive rebuilding effort that is expected to take upwards of 5 years and cost $3 billion dollars.
Facilities and Quality of Life
Tyndall AFB, located near the Gulf of Mexico, is considered an excellent location to be stationed at or to retire near. When at full operations, the base serves over 10,000 military members and dependents in the area. Facilities include dining, medical, fitness, an outdoor recreation center, and a bowling alley. For those serving in the area, local festivals include the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, the 4th of July festivities in Panama City Beach, Schooners' Annual Lobster Festival & Tournament, a Pirates of the High Seas Fest, the Bay Point Billfish Invitational Tournament, the Florida Scallop & Music Festival, and the Boat Parade of Lights.
An Air Force Inn on base is currently undergoing repairs, when the repairs are finished it should make this an excellent Inn to stay at. Due to the hurricane damage, as of February 2019, personnel are staying in temporary quarters. See Update on Tyndall AFB since Hurricane Michael for more details.
Summary of Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida
Tyndall AFB is located in an area described as having the most beautiful beaches in the world. Named after its clear blue waters and white beaches, Florida’s Emerald Coast is a destination for travelers around the world. I have visited other military areas in the Florida Panhandle, it was a great experience and vacation. The base has undergone extensive hurricane damage and currently lacks many services for travelers but with time this will be a great destination to visit again. Tyndall’s future looks strong with a major commitment by the government and the Air Force in rebuilding it to be a state-of-the-art Air Force base for the 21st century.