Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) on Monday vowed that Tyndall AFB would reopen, after the installation sustained catastrophic damage when Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm, made landfall last week on the Florida Panhandle just miles away. Nelson countered speculation that Tyndall would not be restored to its previous role but, instead, realigned as was the case for South Florida’s Homestead AFB after it was decimated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. “I think that fear is unfounded,” Nelson said, reported the Orlando Sentinel. “As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I can say that Tyndall will be rebuilt, and it will be an example of a modern U.S. Air Force base. That is because it is critically located right next to one of our greatest national assets, the Air Force Eastern Gulf Test and Training Range, which is the largest testing and training range for the United States military in the world.” … On Sunday Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth Wright surveyed the damage at Tyndall. In response to a question as to whether the installation might be a total loss, Wilson said the situation could improve in as little as two weeks, reported Stars and Stripes. After the initial shock wears off, “I think people will really start to see the future and not just focus on the present,” she said. As of Sunday, the base still had no power or water. … The Air Force Northern Command Air Operations Center, which is responsible for air security and defense for the continental United States, is being shifted from Tyndall to Langley AFB, Va., reports Stars and Stripes. The air operations center suffered only minor damage from Michael and now is hosting the 325th Fighter Wing and various recovery teams. The First Air Force will consolidate its Air Forces Northern and North American Aerospace Defense Command missions at Langley, where they are likely to remain through the end of the year.
Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Liliana Moreno