‘Every building has severe damage, many are a complete loss’: Tyndall Air Force Base is left devastated by Hurricane Michael

Saturday, October 13, 2018
By Paul Martin

Tyndall Air Force, near Mexico Beach in Florida, suffered catastrophic damage when the Category 4 Michael Hurricane tore through the Florida Panhandle
A report found that the flight line was devastated and every building on the base suffered severe damage, with many considered a complete loss
Tyndall is home to 55 F-22 stealth fighters, the Air Force’s most advanced — and expensive — stealth fighter jets which each cost $339 million
The base sent at least 33 of the fighters to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio before the storm but at least three were reportedly left at the base and damaged
The death toll rose to 17 on Friday evening as search teams recovered bodies from the rubble in Florida

13 October 2018

Tyndall Air Force base was razed to the ground by the devastating Hurricane Michael as experts warn it could take years for the area to recover from the storm.

The air force base, which sits between Panama City and Mexico Beach in Florida, suffered catastrophic damage when the Category 4 hurricane tore through the Florida Panhandle, ripping roofs off airplane hangars, tossing vehicles around a parking lot and leaving a fighter jet that had been on display flipped over on the ground.

Photos show twisted metal gates, half-standing structures and debris strewn all over the base.

A Tyndall official wrote that they’d found ‘widespread catastrophic damage’ across the base.

‘The flight line is devastated. Every building has severe damage. Many buildings are a complete loss,’ the wrote.

‘The hurricane completely destroyed the Tyndall marina. The structures and docks are gone.’

The drone runway and Tyndall Elementary School also sustained severe damage. Power and basic utilities have not been restored to the base.

The home to the nation’s 325th Fighter Wing ‘took a beating,’ Col. Brian Laidlaw said in a letter posted Thursday night to the 3,600 men and women stationed at the base. The Air Force evacuated the base in advance of the storm’s arrival Wednesday afternoon.

‘I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety. At this time I can’t tell you how long that will take, but I’m on it,’ Laidlaw wrote. ‘We need to restore basic utilities, clear our roads of trees and power lines, and assess the structural integrity of our buildings. I know that you are eager to return. I ask you to be patient and try to focus on taking care of your families and each other.’

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