JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
On Oct. 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, as a Category 4 hurricane causing substantial damage to Tyndall Air Force Base. While Tyndall focuses on rebuilding, the mission must continue.
“We are focused on taking care of our Airmen and their families and ensuring the resumption of operations. These decisions were important first steps to provide stability and certainty,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
As part of the Air Force’s commitment to maintaining readiness and care for Airmen and families impacted by Hurricane Michael, several aircraft and personnel originally assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing were reassigned to the Pacific Air Forces.
“Our Air Force has acknowledged the strength of Tyndall comes from its Airmen and families. We are honored to welcome them to our team and committed to ensuring a smooth transition to the Indo-Pacific,” said Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Pacific Air Forces commander. “This relocation not only ensures our ability to maintain the readiness and lethality of our Airmen and this fifth generation fleet, but also enhances our capabilities to support the National Defense Strategy in this critical region.”
Due to the damage Tyndall AFB sustained, approximately 300 Airmen were reassigned from Air Combat Command to PACAF.
Together, units from all over Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam worked to ensure a smooth transition for the F-22, its crews, and support personnel who are now part of the Hawaiian Raptor team.
To help facilitate their transition, the 647th Force Support Squadron, coordinated with over 17 base agencies to develop a sponsor package focused on the needs of inbound Tyndall families.
“Tyndall AFB families have encountered multiple challenges after being devastated by Hurricane Michael; from losing homes and possessions to being displaced for months,” said Chief Master Sgt. Katherine Kwarcinski, 647th FSS superintendent. “The 647 FSS’s main focus is returning the lives of the Airmen and family members affected by the catastrophic event back to normalcy as quickly as possible.”
In addition to the sponsor package, the 647th FSS also worked with the Air Force’s Personnel Center, Air Combat Command, Tyndall AFB, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, to build a working group that maximized communication efforts and allowed the groups to share actions needed in order to resolve special challenges for inbound families.
Here at JBPHH, some of the agencies who stepped up to assist in transitioning and inprocessing the Airmen, were 747th Communications Squadron, 15th Comptroller Squadron, JBPHH Dorm Management Office, JBPHH Housing Office, and the 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
“Our goal from the beginning was to get them and their families taken care of and settled in and make they’re in-processing goes as smoothly as possible,” said Master Sgt. Jorge Arellano, 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron F-22 avionics section chief. “The Tyndall Airmen have been displaced since October, many still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Michael. We hope that as they settle down, their lives will be normalized for them and their families and so they are ready to contribute to the 15th Wing’s mission.”