Tyndall Air Force Base To Be Rebuilt To Tackle Modern Obstacles

Daniel Perodin, Staff Writer

Starting in October 2020, The United States Air Force started rebuilding a base near Panama City to handle severe weather and climate change.

Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida’s panhandle was destroyed in 2018 after Hurricane Michael hit Florida. According to the Air Force, 484 buildings were damaged during the storm. Four years later, The Air Force has decided to spend $5 billion on rebuilding the base to make the infrastructure climate-resistant. The new base will also be able to withstand category-five hurricanes. The base plans to incorporate natural protection, such as reinforced sand dunes and salt marshes, along with an oyster reef and restoration of the eroded barrier islands around the base. This natural shielding helps the local environment, with the Air Force intending to provide habitats for endangered species in the area. These natural defenses work in tandem with structural fortification demonstrated by the base’s stricter building codes.

The Air Force has announced the new base will reduce maintenance costs and increase safety. The base will serve as the model the Department of Defense uses for its installations going forward, reflecting the pentagon’s shift toward protecting its assets from climate change— which it declared a threat to national security.

“I think this plan of rebuilding as a climate-resistant base is pretty smart considering hurricanes are inevitable, especially in Florida. Homestead AFB was destroyed by hurricane Andrew, and 30 years later, it still has not recovered or [been] rebuilt fully since then,” Air Force Tech Sergeant Eva Fernandez said. “This new base can save the military a ton of money in the future, but it could possibly also be a safe place for sheltering for the community.”

The base is projected to be completely rebuilt by 2026. According to the Bay Defense Alliance, the construction is helping the local economy, contributing to 34% of the local economy. The housing, food and other services used by the airmen and contractors are being supported and funded by small businesses.

The story of Tyndall Air Force Base serves as both a warning and a lesson for the future. Since Floridians can expect an increase in major hurricanes due to global warming, Tyndall Air Force Base will demonstrate that the state must reinforce its infrastructure if it wants to solve any problems going forward.