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Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, FL

For security reasons, most military bases in the country remain shrouded in secrecy. It is hard to get firsthand information about what goes on in these duty stations unless you are a service person. Fortunately, this is not the case with Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida.

Unlike other military stations, the Tyndall Air Force Base has opened its doors to the public, allowing civilians exclusive access to visit and appreciate what our servicemen and women do to protect the country. This base station receives thousands of visitors every year, making it one of the most popular destinations for military enthusiasts.

The exciting part, civilians are eligible to live in Tyndall’s base housing. It has five different neighborhoods with close to 1,000 family housing units to choose from. You only need to apply and wait for approval to live on base.

Quick Fun Facts about Tyndall Air Force Base

  • Established in 1941
  • Named in memory of Lt. Francis B. Tyndall
  • Located in Panama City, Florida
  • Initially a gunnery range
  • Changed to an Aerospace Defense Command
  • Host the air force’s latest aircraft F-22 Raptor
  • Renowned for F-22 Raptor training
  • Home to 1st Airforce and 325th Fighter Wing
  • Open to the public
  • Civilians can live on base

Sailboat and pier at St Andrews St Park Panama City Beach Florida

The History of Tyndall Air Force Base

The Tyndall Air Force Base was established on 13 January 1941 in Panama City, Florida. The base is surrounded by the Saint Andrew Bay, the East Bay, and the Saint Andrew Sound on Florida’s Gulf Coast, approximately 12 miles east of Panama City, on the Southeast Peninsula.

Named after Silver Star World War I Veteran Lieutenant Francis Benjamin Tyndall, the base initially started as a gunnery range school, christened Flexible Gunnery School No. 9. Lt. Frank Tyndall was a fighter pilot credited with shooting down half a dozen German planes in World War I. He died on 15 July 1930 after his plane crashed while inspecting Army Fields in North Carolina.

Although the school was established in January 1941, construction began on 6 May 1941. The groundbreaking ceremony was presided by the then-mayor, Harry Fannin, and Tyndall’s first commander, Colonel Warren Maxwell, in the presence of Army and local dignitaries.

Even though construction remained incomplete, the first 2,000 troops arrived on 7 December 1941, with the first aerial gunnery classes of 40 students beginning on 23 February 1942. One of the most famous students who passed through Tyndall’s aerial gunnery class was actor Clark Gable.

The school began admitting foreign NATO forces to train with the first batch of French troops arriving in 1943 and the second batch of Chinese gunnery students enrolling in 1941. Tyndall has maintained this tradition, and it still allows foreign NATO forces to train at the base.

Over the years, Tyndall has gone through several command changes. After World War II, the field became inactive for a few years before the Tactical Air Command took over in 1946. In 1947, Tyndall became part of Air University, and it was renamed the Tyndall Airforce Base as soon as the U.S Air Force disengaged from the armed services to become a separate branch.

The several changeovers have seen Tyndall change from a Gunnery Range School to an Air Training Command Installation to an Aerospace Defense Command. Nowadays, this Air Force Base plays host to the 325th Fighter Wing. It also hosts the latest air force aircraft, the F-22 Raptor. Other additional units garrisoned here include the 44th Fighter Group, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group and the 1st Air Force.

The 325th Fighter Wing has since transitioned into the Air Combat Command, and the 15th Air Force was reactivated on 20 August 2020. It is responsible for generating forces for Air Combat Command with an aim to “Train and Project Unrivalled Combat Power.”

Tyndall Air Force Base remains at the forefront for air force pilot training. It is renowned for its advanced F-22 Raptor training that combines stealth, maneuverability, supportability, supercruise, and integrated avionics.

Does Tyndall Air Force Base Allow Civilians?

Yes, Tyndall Air Force is open to civilians. Unlike other military installations with restrictions, you can visit the Tyndall Air Force Base and learn about its rich history. Besides, the base is surrounded by several bays, nature trails, and Florida’s white, sandy beaches, making it ideal for beach and nature lovers.

However, you require a recreational permit, and you must be 16 years old or above to access the Tyndall Air Force Base property if you are non-DOD personnel.

Interestingly, you can live on base without any restrictions. The Tyndall Air Force has privatized their base housing, allowing civilians to buy and rent houses on base. Military personnel have priority for home purchase while civilians have to apply to live on base.

Visit Tyndall Air Force Base

Whether you are an air force pilot seeking to move base or you are a civilian looking forward to visiting, Tyndall Air Force Base has plenty to offer everyone. Visit this one-of-a-kind military installation to learn more about its rich history.

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