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Friday, Oct. 12, 2018|3:18 p.m.
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.– Tyndall Flying force Base suffered devastating damage when Cyclone Michael tore through the Florida Panhandle, ripping roofings off airplane garages, tossing vehicles around a parking lot and leaving a fighter jet that had been on screen turned over on the ground.
The home to the country’s 325th Fighter Wing “took a whipping,” Col. Brian Laidlaw said in a letter published Thursday night to the 3,600 men and women stationed at the base situated 12 miles (19 kilometers) east of Panama City. The Air Force left the base in advance of the storm’s arrival Wednesday afternoon.
” I will not remember you and your families till we can guarantee your safety. At this time I can’t tell you how long that will take, but I’m on it,” Laidlaw composed. “We require to restore fundamental utilities, clear our roads of trees and power lines, and evaluate the structural integrity of our structures. I understand that you are eager to return. I ask you to be patient and try to focus on looking after your households and each other.”
The evacuations were ordered Monday and everybody other than the “ride-out” group left the base by Tuesday afternoon. Michael was a strong Category 4 typhoon as it lashed the base, which is between Panama City and Mexico Beach.
On Thursday, Air Force authorities conducted the first aerial assessment of the base and found comprehensive damage. A report posted on the base website said the flight line is ravaged and every structure on the base suffered severe damage, with lots of thought about a complete loss. In addition, the Tyndall marina, the drone runway and Tyndall Grade school sustained serious damage.
A variety of airplane were left in the garages due to security or maintenance factors and all of the hangars are damaged, said Ann Stefanek, a spokesperson for the Flying force. “We prepare for the airplane parked inside might be harmed also, however we won’t understand the extent up until our teams can securely get in those hangars and make an evaluation.”
The 325th Fighter Wing flies the F-22 stealth fighter, the most pricey fighter jet in the Air Force toolbox at about $339 million per airplane.
” The Air Force remains capable of executing its combat objective throughout the world with aircraft from other bases, along with those that were evacuated from Tyndall in advance of the cyclone,” Stefanek stated.
Florida’s 2 U.S. senators, Democrat Expense Nelson and Republican Politician Marco Rubio, stated in a letter Friday to top Air Force officials they want in-depth evaluations of the money and other support required to repair the base, bring back operations and assist base personnel.
” We are devoted to its complete healing and we look forward to dealing with you to attain that objective,” the letter said.
On The Other Hand, Flying Force Special Techniques Airmen with the 23rd Unique Strategies Squadron have returned to managing air traffic at Tyndall, according to a press release from the Flying force. They received the first airplane at 7:06 p.m. Thursday. Authorities say the opened runway will assist permit airplane with products and food to land for circulation in the Florida Panhandle.
Laidlaw stated power and standard energies have actually not been brought back to the base. In the letter to staff, Laidlaw stated crews will require time to clear trees from roadways and repair power lines before anyone returns.
Evacuees who took base transport to Maxwell Flying force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, were limited to one large luggage piece per family and one carry on per person. They were asked to ensure they had 72 hours’ worth of items.