The U.S. Air Force announced the temporary relocation of personnel and F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets from the 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, to Joint Base (JB) Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 2, 2018.
The unit assets are being reassigned as Tyndall begins its long-term recovery following the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael, which struck the base in early October 2018.
“We will rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base,” said Vice President Mike Pence while at the north Florida base Oct. 25.
A number of important missions will resume at Tyndall AFB in the next few months and others will shift to other locations for the time being. All but approximately 500 Airmen will return to the Florida panhandle.
“We are focused on taking care of our Airmen and their families and ensuring the resumption of operations. These decisions were important first steps to provide stability and certainty,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “We’re working hard to return their lives to normalcy as quickly as possible.”
Units that will resume operations at Tyndall AFB:
• The 601st Air Force Operations Center will resume operations no later than Jan. 1, 2019.
• The 337th Air Control Squadron will resume air battle manager training at a reduced rate by Jan. 1, 2019. A full production rate is expected no later than summer 2019.
• Air Force Medical Agency Support team will continue their mission of medical facility oversight.
• Air Force Office of Special Investigations will continue their mission from usable facilities.
• 53rd Air-to-Air Weapons Evaluation Group will remain at Tyndall AFB.
• The Air Force Legal Operations Agency will continue their mission from a usable facility at Tyndall AFB.
• Air Force recruiters will continue their mission from local area offices in the Panama City, Florida, area.
• The 823rd Red Horse Squadron, Detachment 1, will continue their mission at Tyndall AFB.
• The Air Force Civil Engineer Center will continue their mission at Tyndall AFB.
Units to be located at Eglin AFB, Florida, with reachback to Tyndall AFB:
• The 43rd and 2nd Fighter Squadrons’ F-22 Fighter Training and T-38 Adversary Training Units will relocate operations to Eglin AFB. Academic and simulator facilities at Tyndall AFB will be used to support training requirements, as well as Tyndall AFB’s surviving low observable maintenance facilities.
• The 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 4, will relocate with the F-22 Fighter Training Units to Eglin AFB.
Units with insufficient infrastructure to resume operations at Tyndall AFB at this time:
• Personnel and F-22s from the 95th Fighter Squadron will relocate to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
• The Noncommissioned Officer Academy will temporarily disperse across four locations: McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee; Maxwell AFB – Gunter Annex, Alabama; Keesler AFB, Mississippi; and Sheppard AFB, Texas.
The Air Force is taking great care to ensure Airmen and their families are supported when they return to the base. Officials are working to identify specific Airmen required to remain at Tyndall AFB for mission needs or to assist with the longer-term recovery of the base.
“By the winter holidays and in many cases well before, we expect all our Airmen—military and civilians—to have certainty about their options, so that everyone is either on a path or already settled,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.
“The strength of Tyndall (AFB) comes from its Airmen and their families. It will take us a while to restore buildings and infrastructure, but returning our Airmen and their combat missions to full strength—at Tyndall or somewhere else in the interim—will happen quickly,” he added.