About Tyndall Air Force Base

In December 1940, a site board determined that Flexible Gunnery School No. 9 would be located 12 miles southeast of Panama City, Florida on East Peninsula. On May 6, 1941, Army and local dignitaries held an official ground breaking for the school. Panama City’s mayor, Harry Fannin, dug the first spade full of sand, and Colonel Warren Maxwell, Tyndall’s first commander, wielded the first ax on the stubborn palmetto plants, so common on the East Peninsula. The site was covered with pine and palmetto trees, scrub brush, and swamps. Bulldozers worked around the clock to clear the brush and fill in swamps.

Although construction was well underway, the base lacked a name. Congressman Bob Sikes suggested naming the school in memory of Lieutenant Francis B. Tyndall. A native of Sewall Point, Florida. Lieutenant Tyndall was a fighter pilot during World War I and was credited with shooting down four German planes well behind enemy lines in 1918. While inspecting Army fields near Mooresville, North Carolina on July 15, 1930, Tyndall’s plane crashed, killing him instantly. On June 13, 1941, the War Department officially named the new installation Tyndall Field.

Picture of Tyndall Field West Gate

On December 7, 1941, the first of 2,000 troops arrived at Tyndall Field. Although construction was incomplete, instructors and students began preparing for the first class. The first class of 40 gunnery students began on February 23, 1942. Of the thousands of students passing through the Tyndall gates, the most famous was actor Clark Gable, a student here during 1943.

One common thread between those early years and today’s training at Tyndall is foreign student training. It began at Tyndall in 1943 with French Air Force gunnery students being the first and Chinese students following that year. The last class of foreign students entered training in 1946. They were Chinese Nationals. Today, foreign students attend weapons controller training at Tyndall.

When World War II ended, Tyndall went through the demobilization process, as did most Army Air units. Fortunes changed as the base fell under the control of the Tactical Air Command in 1946. This only lasted three months. Then Tyndall became part of Air University.

In September of 1950, Tyndall became an Air Training Command base. Several schools were assigned, including Weapons Controllers, USAF Air Police, and USAF Instrument Instructor Pilot. Then on January 4, 1951, ATC began aircrew (interceptor) training at Tyndall using F-86, F-89, and F-94 aircraft. This relationship lasted until July 1, 1957, when Tyndall became part of the Air Defense Command, an association that would continue for more than 22 years.

Tyndall began hosting William Tell in 1958, just one year after becoming an Air Defense Command unit. William Tell is the nickname for the USAF Air-to-Air Weapons Meet held bi-annually. Tyndall still hosts the competition, but under the sponsorship of Air Combat Command and with competition from all over the world.

Tyndall’s second association with the Tactical Air Command began on October 1, 1979. Over the next few years, modernization, upgrade, and reorganization became the key words around Tyndall. A major reorganization occurred on July 1, 1981, with the activation of the 325th Fighter Weapons Wing. The wing began its mission at Tyndall with the F-101, F-106, and T-33 aircraft, while at the same time phasing out the F-101 and F-106 and preparing for the arrival of Tyndall’s first F-15 aircraft in 1983.

F-15s fly over Tyndall Air Force base

Over the years, Tyndall gained additional missions as other units were stationed on the base. The Air Force Engineering and Services Center was formed at Tyndall as a part of a major reorganization. In 1991, it was renamed the Air Force Civil Engineering Agency. The 23rd Air Division, renamed the Southeast Air Defense Sector, also relocated to Tyndall. It had the responsibility for the air defense of the southeastern United States.

As the base entered its fiftieth year, Tyndall underwent reorganization in response to the DOD effort to streamline defense management. Headquarters, First Air Force moved from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, to Tyndall, and the 325th Fighter Wing became the installation host.

Transition continued for the base as it transferred from being an Air Combat Command installation to an Air Education and Training Command installation on July 1, 1993. This move emphasized Tyndall’s commitment to training. The 325th Fighter Wing remained the sole F-15 air superiority training wing until October 2010. The 337th Air Control Squadron remains the only air battle manager training unit in the United States Air Force.

Tyndall AFB was selected as the center for training the Air Force’s newest F-22 Raptor and received its first aircraft in 2004. The 43rd Fighter Squadron provides training for new, pipeline students, and pilots transitioning from other airframes. As Tyndall’s newest mission ramped up, its “bread and butter” mission, training F-15 pilots began a gradual phase out. The 1st Fighter Squadron inactivated in 2006, while both the 2nd and 95th Fighter Squadrons shuttered in 2010. In July 2010, the Air Force announced that Tyndall would receive a combat-coded, operational F-22 squadron by Spring 2013, of which is to be designated the 8th Fighter Squadron.

On Oct. 1, 2012, the 325th Fighter Wing transitioned to Air Combat Command and the Ninth Air Force. The wing remains committed to its goal to “Train and Project Unrivaled Combat Air Power.”

Visit the official website of Tyndall Air Force Base at http://www.tyndall.af.mil.

About the F-22 Raptor

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The F-22’s combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities and allows for the full realization of operational concepts that are vital to the 21st century Air Force. The F-22 is a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force that is designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances, to counter and defeat threats that will attempt to deny access to our forces. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected adversary fighter aircraft.

A combination of sensor capability, integrated avionics, situational awareness, and weapons provides first-kill opportunity against threats. The F-22 possesses a sophisticated sensor suite allowing the pilot to track, identify, shoot and kill air-to-air threats before being detected. Significant advances in cockpit design and sensor fusion improve the pilot’s situational awareness. In the air-to-air configuration the Raptor carries six AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9 Sidewinders.

The F-22 has a significant capability to attack surface targets. In the air-to-ground configuration the aircraft can carry two 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions internally and will use on-board avionics for navigation and weapons delivery support. In the future air-to-ground capability will be enhanced with the addition of an upgraded radar and up to eight small diameter bombs. The Raptor will also carry two AIM-120s and two AIM-9s in the air-to-ground configuration.

Advances in low-observable technologies provide significantly improved survivability and lethality against air-to-air and surface-to-air threats. The F-22 brings stealth into the day, enabling it not only to protect itself but other assets.

The F-22 engines produce more thrust than any current fighter engine. The combination of sleek aerodynamic design and increased thrust allows the F-22 to cruise at supersonic airspeeds (greater than 1.5 Mach) without using afterburner — a characteristic known as supercruise. Supercruise greatly expands the F-22 ‘s operating envelope in both speed and range over current fighters, which must use fuel-consuming afterburner to operate at supersonic speeds.

The sophisticated F-22 aerodesign, advanced flight controls, thrust vectoring, and high thrust-to-weight ratio provide the capability to outmaneuver all current and projected aircraft. The F-22 design has been extensively tested and refined aerodynamically during the development process.

Read more about the F-22 Raptor at http://go.usa.gov/xkw3k.