HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – To prepare for the long-awaited move of F-22 Raptors from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., an informational session was held July 26 for the more than 800 families planning a Permanent Change of Station. Local affiliates and civic leaders from the Bay County area Tyndall AFB hosted the meeting, at which families soaked in as much information as they could about the school systems, housing, recreational activities, and local benefits for military members.
“This is our effort to try and make the transition of families and Airmen to Bay County easier,” said William Husfelt, Bay County superintendent of schools, “They go through a lot of angst finding a new homes, jobs for spouses and finding new schools for their children. Our job is alleviate as much of that as possible.”
The event included an informational briefing, followed by breakout sessions during which attendees could ask questions and get information pertaining to their particular PCS situation.
Members of Team Holloman moving to Tyndall will be able to benefit from a community almost completely tailored to fit their needs.
The Bay Defense Alliance organization was founded by community leaders involved with the Bay County Chamber of Commerce, the Bay County Economic Development Alliance and other key organizations, and the 30-member board includes representatives of the Bay County Economic Development Alliance, Bay County Chamber of Commerce and Panama City Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
“The lifestyle is very laid back,” said Glen MacDonald, Bay Defense Alliance member, “the panhandle of Florida is very relaxed, and we have a 98 percent approval rating for the military, so they should all feel very welcome. At Tyndall, the Airmen will have access to a variety of education opportunities, as well as recreational opportunities. Families can enjoy outdoor activities almost year-round because of the weather.”
Tyndall is the formal training unit for the F-22 Raptor, utilizing a variant of the F-22 designed to train new pilots. With the arrival of combat operational F-22s from Holloman, the base will transition into becoming a part of Air Combat Command and must adjust to a new tempo required for bases expected to participate directly in warfare.
While the move will mean big changes for many Airmen and their families, it will also usher in many new developments within the Tyndall AFB community.
“The F-22s coming to Tyndall is of great significance to us because we will be transitioning from a training wing into an operational wing,” said MacDonald. “It is a bit of a culture change and a learning change for us, so we’re excited about being mission responsible, and having the opportunity thank the people who go and fight in our wars, as well as to better understand what they do.”
The movement of F-22 personnel from Holloman to Tyndall brings about many new and exciting changes within not only the landscape of today’s Air Force, but also the landscape of the communities involved in the transfer.
“Having more than 800 new families come to this community is a wonderful thing for us. We think of it as new people and new ideas,” said MacDonald. “We’re going to have people from all different backgrounds, from all over the country coming together to live within our community. Having all of these fresh perspectives helping us to make improvements is the real benefit to us.”