EGLIN AFB — Even as their own bases were just returning to normal operations Friday in the wake of Hurricane Michael, officials at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field were looking ahead at how they might help their fellow airmen at Tyndall Air Force Base, which was virtually destroyed after taking a direct hit from the storm.
"We're poised and ready" to provide whatever assistance might be needed, Jasmine Porterfield of Team Eglin Public Affairs said Friday morning. But, she added, it is too early to tell exactly how Eglin might be needed as Tyndall recovers from the storm.
In a Thursday post on Tyndall's Facebook page, Col. Brian Laidlaw told the base's airmen and families, who were ordered to evacuate in advance of Michael, that the base "took a beating" and will require "extensive cleanup and repairs."
"At this time, I can't tell you how long that will take," Laidlaw wrote.
At Hurlburt Field, headquarters of the Air Force Special Operations Command, Col. Michael Conley's thoughts were already focused Friday on Tyndall
"Hurlburt Field dodged a bullet and escaped the brunt of Hurricane Michael,” Conley, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, said in a Thursday news release.
“Tyndall AFB and our neighbors to the east weren’t as fortunate," Conley added. "Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
Conley said even as he and Hurlburt's airmen were getting the base back up and running, they were "also preparing to support aid requests to help our teammates at Tyndall."
"Team Hurlburt stands ready to assist them when called upon,” he said.
Friday was a full workday at Eglin and Hurlburt. On Thursday at Hurlburt, Conley issued a return to duty order to bring the base back up to "full-operational status."
Also Thursday, Eglin 96th Test Wing commander Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien declared that normal operations and services would begin Friday at the base.