I grew up in a military family along the Emerald Coast. My Dad was a Chief in the Navy and my Father in Law was a Captain in the Air Force. Dad retired in Milton, Florida home of Whiting Field. Clarence Quinlan Retired in Fort Walton Beach home of Eglin Air Force Base. We now have Hurlburt Air Force Base in Mary Esther and Duke Field home to the Army and Air Force between Fort Walton Beach and Crestview.
I was attending a Technology Class on Wednesday and our instructor mentioned he loved hearing the big jets overhead. We take hearing them for granted. It is the sound of “Freedom” to us locals. Our windows shake from bomb testing at Eglin and new people to the area are always asking, What was that? We have lots of vacant land in Florida that belong to our military bases. For that we are thankful. Miles of unspoiled beaches are owned by Eglin and Tyndall in Panama City.
Tyndall suffered a tremendous loss after Hurricane Michael. Many buildings were destroyed, the military housing is gone and the elementary school damaged. For me, the drive to my second home in Mexico Beach has been destroyed; as all the pine trees are broken in half like pick up sticks. “Heartbreaking.” But the base is being rebuilt, the families will come back, jobs will be available again. Our country needs our military bases.