- Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida Panhandle took devastating damage
- Base was evacuated; no one stationed there is known to have been hurt
- Report: Operational aircraft were evacuated out of state
- Sens. Rubio, Nelson sent letter to Air Force officials
The base is closed to all but essential personnel as they work to clear roads, restore utilities and inspect the buildings for structural integrity. All personnel and families were evacuated before the storm, except for a hurricane rideout crew. Some 3,600 men and women are stationed at the base.
Air Force officials say every building on base sustained damage, and the runway is devastated. The Tyndall marina, drone runway and Tyndall Elementary School also sustained severe damage.
All of the hangars are damaged, but they don't yet know whether any aircraft left in those hangars for safety or maintenance reasons were damaged yet. Pictures taken of the base showed roofs torn off hangars. Operational aircraft were evacuated to either Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, Carswell Field in Texas, or Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, according to a report by Stars and Stripes.
“We anticipate the aircraft parked inside may be damaged as well, but we won't know the extent until our crews can safely enter those hangars and make an assessment,” said Ann Stefanek, a spokesperson for the Air Force.
Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio sent a letter to Air Force officials Friday, pledging to do whatever it took to help Tyndall Air Force Base.
"Each of us stand ready to work with the Air Force to rebuild Tyndall AFB and advocate for the resources needed to do so," the letter said.
Tyndall AFB is home to the 325th Fighter Wing and the training home of the F-22 Raptor. It's also the location of the 601st Air Operations Center, which plans and directs assets in support of homeland security missions, and also conducts relief operations after disasters like Michael.
Air Force personnel needing assistance after Michael should visit the Air Force Personnel website.