While doing an inspection tour of Army Air Fields in 1928, 1st Lt. Francis Tyndall’s F-1 plane crashed. Before he died, he was able to shoot down 6 enemy planes earning him a Silver Star. The base was renamed after him. Tyndall Field started out as a gunnery range in 1941 and after the United States Air Force was established after the Second World War, the base took on its new name – Tyndall Air Force Base. In 1950, the facility became a USAF Pilot Instructor School which also trained flight crews specifically for the Air Defense Command and Ground Control Intercept operators (GCIs).
The station is hosted and run by the 325th Fighter Wing (325 FW) of the Air Combat Command (ACC). The 325th Fighter Wing’s chief duty is to provide training for F-22A Raptor pilots as well as maintenance personnel, F-15, F-16, and F-22 air dominance forces in conjunction with North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) air force contingency plans. At the same time, they also train air battle managers for various assignments to combat Air Force units in different parts of the world. The base is also the headquarters for the First Air Force whose main purpose is to guarantee the air sovereignty of the entire continental United States.
There is always something to do in Tyndall. For those who love water activities, Adventures at Sea down at Lagoon Dive in Panama City have all the watersports anyone may need from jet ski rentals to parasailing equipment. Charter boats are available for fishing out on the open sea. An entire family can truly enjoy a trip on one of the pontoon boats and admire the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico. Adventurers can see Florida’s back waters and native wildlife with Airboat Adventures at Bayview Circle which is about 15 minutes from the beach.
For golf lovers, there is the Barnacle Bay Mini Golf. The course is interesting and exciting with waterfalls, rope bridges, and caves. Motorcycle enthusiasts can rent a Harley from California Cycles and cruise the Florida coast. There is an abundance of parks within the Tyndall AFB vicinity. Carl Gray Park is the oldest park and comes complete with sporting fields, picnic areas, and playgrounds. Children can enjoy a lot of fun activities at the Cobra Adventure Park such as snowmobile races and arcade games. The Coconut Creek Family Fun Park boasts of a huma-sized labyrinth which is as big as a football field.
For children inside the base, the nearest education facilities are provided by Bay County School District public schools. It is one of the biggest school districts in Florida with over 25,000 students. The school district runs on a grade program that meets state curriculum requirements. For active duty military personnel and their dependents, the Tyndall Military Treatment Facility provides primary medical care. Panama City boasts of excellent medical and dental facilities including Gulf Coast Medical Center, Bay Medical Center, and Sacred Heart Hospital.
Balfour Beatty Communities manages the housing program at Tyndall. The current housing units that are available include newly-built three and four bedroom houses. All E-1 personnel and above with dependents can submit advance applications for military housing. For those who decide to live off-base, there many affordable homes for rent or sale that are available. Temporary lodging on Tyndall AFB can be reserved at The Sand Dollar Inn. There are three and four bedroom duplexes available.