PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Tyndall Air Force Base received strong support from President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers after it was destroyed by Hurricane Michael.
That support, and Tyndall’s rebuild will continue even after President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, lawmakers told News 13.
Although neither man was ready to concede that President Donald Trump lost his reelection campaign Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Rep. Neal Dunn, R- Panama City, both said last week that protecting Tyndall Air Force Base is one of their most important missions.
“First off, I’m on the armed services committee and I’ve worked hard to make sure Tyndall had all the resources it needed to rebuild,” Scott said. “And I’m going to continue to work on that.”
Scott also called on military spending to remain where it is.
“Whoever the president is going forward I’ll do my best to work with them. I know under the Obama administration they cut funding by over 20 percent for our military we can’t afford that.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also commented on the future of the base in a statement to News 13.
“One of my top priorities is the continued rebuilding and expansion of Tyndall Air Force Base, which is vital to America’s national security and our communities in Northwest Florida,” Rubio wrote. “I am grateful for the Trump Administration’s commitment to Tyndall AFB, and I am confident this effort will continue to receive overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and any future administration.”
The base is one of the largest employers in Bay County. A $5 billion reconstruction is already underway.
“When we got the appropriation, the way I wrote that I wrote all five years of military construction in one year,” Dunn said. “So the money is already appropriated out the door. It’s not something we have to vote on year after year.”
Dunn said it was one of the largest such appriopriations ever.
Tyndall is expected to come back to life with the addition of several new squadrons. Three squadrons of F-35s have already been approved and the base is still the preferred location for an MQ9 Reaper wing.
If things go forward as scheduled about 3,600 airman and their families will be coming to the area.
“I also spent some time with air combat command earlier this week and they are planning on putting all four combat squadrons that we talked about out there on Tyndall starting 2023,” Dunn said.