Tyndall Air Force Base - Military BAH
Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) is located on a peninsula southeast of Panama City. It is situated along the beautiful Florida Gulf Coast and surrounded by the Saint Andrew Sound, East Bay, and Saint Andrew Bay. Overall, it is a beautiful place.
Tyndall AFB was founded in 1941 and is named after Lieutenant Francis B. Tyndall, a recipient of the Silver Star and a Florida native. It has also functioned as an Air Training Command Installation and an Aerospace Defense Command over the past. The base also hosted Clarke Gable and other soldiers who came to train for World War II.
Living at Tyndall AFB has many advantages, and military personnel can take advantage of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) program. Here is a comprehensive overview of Tyndall AFB and how you can use the military BAH to find a house and settle here.
Living On Tyndall Air Force Base
Tyndall AFB and the surrounding locations have many good things to offer, and living on the base is highly recommendable. Here is an overview of the most important aspects of living on Tyndall AFB.
You can choose from several housing options at Tyndall AFB. Besides the barracks, which are only open to unaccompanied airmen (and come with other strict requirements), residents here can also opt for private housing. Fortunately, service members have an added advantage over civilians regarding housing financing, as will be discussed later in the BAH section.
The private homes at Tyndall AFB are available for purchase or leasing. There currently are two private housing neighborhoods:
Island View is named after the breathtaking views of Shell Island. The houses here feature three to four bedrooms, master suites, fully equipped kitchens, garages, covered patios, and fenced-in backyards.
The neighborhood also features playgrounds and other communal infrastructure and amenities. However, they are only available to military personnel in the ranks of O4 to O9.
Sabre Palms was opened in 2020. The houses here feature three or four bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, fenced-in backyards, garages, and master suites.
The neighborhood also features a dog park, youth center, basketball court, playgrounds, and other communal infrastructure. However, the homes are only available to military personnel in the E1 to E6 ranks.
Three more neighborhoods are scheduled to open by 2025. They will include Flex Lake (E1 to E6), Redfish Point (E1 to E6), and Redfish Point Extension (E1 to E9 and O1 to O3).
You can visit the leasing office at 4700 Sentry Lane, Tyndall AFB, FL 32403, or call them at (850) 286-1700 if you are interested in leasing a house on the base.
Infrastructure & Amenities
Tyndall AFB has all the amenities and infrastructure a community or society needs. The most notable amenities include the following:
Tyndall AFB Commissary
You can shop for groceries and a wide selection of other essentials at the commissary. It is located at 220 Mall Ln #1, Tyndall AFB, FL 32403, and is open from Tuesday to Sunday.
Tyndall AFB Exchange
The Tyndall AFB Exchange is a one-stop shop for most of your needs. Some amenities and services available here include a food court, tailor, optical services, tax assistance, and a barbershop. The base also has at least five other barbershops.
The Tyndall AFB Exchange is located at 220 Mall Lane, Suite 2, Building 950, Tyndall AFB, FL 32403, and is open from Monday to Saturday.
Tyndall AFB Post Office
The store sells supplies such as stamps and papers. The post office will handle all your mailing and packaging. The post office is at 590 Suwannee Road 105, Panama City, FL 32403, just down the street from the commissary and exchange.
Tyndall AFB Legal Office
The Tyndall AFB legal office can help you handle all legal matters, from notarizing documents to scheduling appointments with lawyers.
The office is located at 445 Suwannee Road Building 662, Tyndall AFB, FL 32403, and is open from Monday to Friday. You can schedule an appointment by calling (850) 283-4681.
Tyndall AFB Finance
The finance office can help you sort out your financial issues, from opening a bank account to planning for retirement. It is located at Building #662, Tyndall AFB, FL 32403.
Tyndall AFB is under the jurisdiction of the Bay District Schools. The district serves about 30,000 students and has five high schools, six middle schools, and 18 elementary schools.
The Tyndall AFB library is also stocked with books on all subjects and also has other educative materials such as audiobooks, videos, and video games. The base also has an on-site Child Development Center where you can find childcare services.
There are several hotels near and on Tyndall AFB. Sand Dollar Inn is located on the base at Bldg 1060, Minnesota Avenue, Tyndall AFB, FL 32403. Several other hotels are located a short drive away in Panama City and Lynn Haven.
Weather & Things to Do
Tyndall AFB and the surrounding areas offer a lot of fun and productive things to do. Popular recreational activities here include the following:
- Watching dolphins
- Enjoying various cuisines
- Watching movies at theaters
- Visiting theme parks
- Touring wildlife preservations
The weather at Tyndall AFB is primarily hot and muggy. On the bright side, the winters here are comfortable, with temperatures consistently above the 40s. The base also receives an average of six inches of rainfall during summer (mostly in July).
Taking Advantage of the Military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Program
Unfortunately, living on the base at Tyndall AFB is not always an option, considering the limited housing options. Military personnel living off-base can take advantage of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) program.
What is the BAH Program?
The Basic Allowance for Housing program provides military service members with a housing allowance only when military housing is unavailable. The Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) handles the BAH program on behalf of the Department of Defense (DOD).
The BAH program is categorized into six types based on factors such as your ranking and the presence of dependents:
BAH - This is the basic BAH program available to most military personnel. It is an allowance to offset the cost of non-military housing.
BAH With or Without Dependents Rates - Service members with dependents are entitled to slightly higher BAH allowances. However, the rates are constant regardless of the number of dependents you have. In cases of dual-military couples, only one partner will receive the BAH-with-dependents rates.
Partial BAH - Partial BAH is available to military personnel without dependents and residing in government quarters. It comes with lower rates than most other BAH rates.
BAH-Diff - The BAH Differential program is available to military members assigned to single quarters and with ongoing child support payments. The beneficiaries can use the BAH allowance to pay child support. However, your monthly child support payments must exceed the BAH-Diff amount to qualify for this program.
BAH Type-II - BAH-II comes with a fixed rate based on the national housing interest rates. It is available to members of the Reserve or Guard who are activated for fewer than 30 days. Military members in transit from overseas locations without BAH rates also qualify for this program.
- Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) - Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) works similarly to the BAH program. However, it is only available to service members stationed overseas and in U.S. protectorates.
How the BAH Program Works
BAH was initially intended to cover 100% of median housing costs. However, it covers 95% of median housing costs because the 2015-2016 Defense Authorization Act introduced a cost-sharing element to the program and eliminated renter’s insurance.
Calculating BAH Rates
The DTMO calculates BAH rates by collecting housing costs, such as rent and utilities, and sorting this data into profiles based on house types, such as apartments or single-family rental units. It then links housing profiles to military members’ pay grades and dependency statuses. Finally, it calculates the total housing costs (median rent plus average utilities) for each profile in different military housing areas – it also calculates a different BAH rate based on dependency status.
The BAH program allows grossing up income to increase a soldier’s likelihood of qualifying for this allowance. Grossing up income involves multiplying the tax-exempt income as a percentage. Lenders may use a higher qualifying amount than your actual non-taxable income.
15% or 25% are the standards for grossing up incomes for BAH eligibility. For example, if a soldier’s non-taxable income is $50,000, grossing it up by 25% would bring the qualifying total to $62.500.
Changes in Your BAH Rates
In most cases, your BAH rates can only increase as long as you reside in that area. The BAH Rate Protection ensures that your rates don’t decrease even when the average rates decrease. However, your rates can decrease in the following cases:
Demotion – You get your new pay grade’s BAH rate.
Promotion – You get your new or previous pay grade’s BAH rate, whichever is higher.
Permanent Change of Station (PCS) – You get your new duty station’s current BAH rates.
- Change in dependency status – You get the BAH-with-dependents rate if you gain a dependent and don’t have one before.
BAH rates change yearly – the DTMO releases new rates in December and implements them in January. You can find the latest BAH rates on the DTMO website. You can also calculate your BAH rates using the BAH calculator on the DTMO website.
Covering Your Housing Costs
Whether or not your BAH covers 100% of your housing costs depends on your living costs. You may have to pay some of the housing costs out of your pocket if you live in a larger residence than covered in your BAH median. Overall, it comes down to location.
Besides renting, you can also use your BAH to buy the house. However, BAH doesn’t consider mortgage rates, only median rental costs. You may need to cover some of your mortgage costs out of pocket if the local median rental costs are lower than the local mortgage rates.
Applying for the BAH Program
Eligible soldiers can apply for the BAH program by submitting the following documents to the relevant authorities:
PCS orders to the old duty station.
PCS orders to the new duty station.
- Memorandum or DA Form 4187 (signed by the soldier and commander) providing a reason for the request and the soldier’s contact information (email and phone number).
Soldiers are also required to send other types of documents depending on the situation for which they are applying. Typical situations include deployment, education, and PME.
It is crucial to provide detailed, up-to-date information when submitting your documents to make the review process smooth. The DTMO will notify you if they approve or deny your application.
Living Off Tyndall Air Force Base
Tyndall AFB has limited housing options, considering three neighborhoods will not open until 2025. Fortunately, you can live off base and still take advantage of the BAH program.
Freedom and convenience are the most notable benefits of living off Tyndall AFB. Interestingly, living off base can be advantageous and convenient in some cases. All military bases have strict rules and regulations, from when you can leave or access the base to how you can redecorate your house.
Fortunately, civilian housing projects have relaxed requirements and regulations, affording you (and your loved ones) more freedom – you can leave and come back as you wish and undertake home improvement projects such as painting or remodeling.
Here is an overview of the best locations to live near Tyndall AFB:
Panama City, Florida, is the best location to live off Tyndall Air Force Base. The city has all the amenities and infrastructure needed, including seven private schools, 39 K-12 schools, and 32 public schools. The homes here and the overall cost of living are also affordable.
The city also offers many fun and exciting activities, including fishing, water sports, arts, and entertainment. Lastly, the aesthetics here are breathtaking – Panama City is home to some of the best beaches in Florida.
Springfield is a sparse suburb ideal for families. It is located inside the Panama City metro area. It has a population of about 9,000 people and quality infrastructure and amenities, including 23 public and 13 private schools. The median monthly rent here is just under $1,000, and the town is just 15 minutes from Tyndall AFB.
Parker is conveniently close to Tyndall AFB –just a ten-minute drive away. The town features a suburban-rural setting with a population of about 4,400 people.
The town also has good amenities and infrastructure, including 20 public and 13 private schools. The overall cost of living here is affordable – the median monthly rent is about $1,100.
Wewahitchka is one of the smallest towns in Florida, located about 30 minutes from Tyndall AFB. The town has a modest population of about 1,700 people, making it one of the ideal places to live if you are concerned about your privacy.
The overall cost of living here is also affordable, with the monthly median rent being about $770. Beekeeping is one of the most popular activities here. However, this town has a limited selection of schools, other public amenities, and infrastructure.
Port St. Joe
Port St. Joe is a small town about 36 minutes away (27 miles) from Tyndall AFB. The town has about 3,500 people and features a suburban-rural setting.
The monthly median rent is about $1,100, and the overall cost of living here is affordable. The crime rates are also low, and the people here are mostly friendly.
Make a living at Tyndall Air Force Base Affordable
Living at Tyndall AFB (or anywhere) doesn’t have to be expensive if you are eligible for the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) program. The BAH program can cover up to 95% of your housing costs when living in and around Tyndall AFB if you don’t get military housing.
You can also use your BAH to buy a house to live in permanently. The requirements for qualifying and applying for the BAH program are reasonable, but it is advisable to consult a professional if you need more guidance.
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