Airman 1st Class Dedan Dials --
“The flight line is devastated. Every building has severe damage. Many buildings are a complete loss. Help is on the way,” reads the hurricane report page for Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
“About 99 percent of base housing and other facilities sustained some degree of damage,” said Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, Tyndall AFB.
Hurricane Michael devastated Tyndall AFB this past October, leaving the base calling for assistance from its Wingmen.
Team Dover’s 436th Civil Engineer Squadron hearkened the call and designated eight Airmen for Task Force Phoenix: an eclectic team of engineers gathered from all across the Air Force for the purpose of restoring Tyndall AFB to its former glory.
True to its namesake, Task Force Phoenix is named after the mythological bird with the ability to rise – and even soar – from the ashes of death. Dover’s engineers have now been with the task force for more than a month, maintaining generators, rebuilding roofs and setting up temporary tents for other service members – all in the hopes of reinvigorating Tyndall AFB.
“Tyndall [AFB] needs our Airmen to speed up the process of recovery and use our skills to help run swiftly and smoothly,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Crump, 436th CES Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force unit deployment manager. “I hope our Airmen can get Tyndall back to the condition those stationed there deserve.”
In fact, the task force’s goal goes beyond simply rebuilding the base, said 2nd Lt. Kiara Vance, 436th CES program manager and Task Force Phoenix member.
“We are making Tyndall [AFB] the base of the future,” Vance said, noting that the reconstruction efforts would incorporate feedback on how the base could be enhanced.
Truly, Task Force Phoenix’s warriors embody the Wingman concept alluded to in the last lines of The Airmen’s Creed: “I will never leave an Airman behind, I will never falter and I WILL NOT FAIL!”