All Of Tyndall's F-22 Raptors Survived Hurricane Michael, DoD Says

Military Tech

TYNDALL AFB — All of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets left behind when Hurricane Michael hit Tyndall Air Force Base last month will be flown off the base for repairs, according to Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.

Shanahan said the last of the aircraft will be flown off the base, under their own power, through the weekend. All of the F-22s are expected to be in new locations by Monday night.

"That's fantastic news," Shanahan said.

Shanahan's comments came during a Thursday video conference call with a half-dozen reporters from around the country, part of a new Pentagon outreach effort.

News that the F-22s are leaving Tyndall justifies the optimism expressed previously by Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright about the condition of the aircraft that could not evacuate the base due to maintenance or safety issues.

In a joint statement issued a few days after the hurricane, the three leaders said that although the Tyndall flight line sustained significant damage, damage to the aircraft "was less than we feared and preliminary indications are promising."

Damage at the flight line at Tyndall Air Force Base in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in October 2018NOAA

According to various reports, 33 of Tyndall's F-22s were flown out in advance of Hurricane Michael, which made landfall Oct. 10. A total of 55 F-22s are assigned to Tyndall, but the exact number of aircraft left behind remains a mystery.

"We're still not discussing numbers due to operational security," Leah Garton, spokeswoman for the Air Force's Air Combat Command, said Thursday. Garton did say the F-22s have been flying out of Tyndall for some time now. All but one of the F-22s are now, or will be, at Virginia's Joint Base Langley-Eustis for maintenance, with the remaining jet at Utah's Hill AFB for maintenance, according to Garton.

A letter sent a few days ago to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., provides some indication of the number of F-22s left at Tyndall during Hurricane Michael. In the letter, which urges Wilson to ask Congress for funding to repair all of the damaged F-22s, Rubio notes "31 percent of F-22 aircraft at Tyndall Air Force Base were designated Non-Mission Capable (NMC) and were sheltered in place."

Thirty-one percent of the 55 F-22s assigned to Tyndall would be 17 aircraft.

In other comments Thursday on Tyndall AFB, Shanahan gave a "shout-out" to Col. Brian Laidlaw (commander of Tyndall's 325th Fighter Wing) for his "tremendous job in protecting people" in advance of the hurricane. As Hurricane Michael bore down on the eastern end of the Panhandle, Laidlaw ordered the evacuation of the 11,000 personnel who worked on Tyndall.

In the days since the hurricane, a 1,200-member task force has assembled on the base and is working to get Tyndall back up and running.

Shanahan said DoD is beginning to look at long-term prospects for the base, which Vice President Mike Pence pledged last week would be rebuilt.

According to Shanahan, at least some of the base's future will be determined after a month-long assessment of the facility is concluded.

"I don't have any definitive answers," Shanahan said.


©2018 The Walton Sun (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


An Austrian Jagdkommando K9 unit conducts training (Austrian Armed Forces photo)

An Austrian soldier was apparently killed by two military working dogs that he was charged with feeding, the Austrian Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario has seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya, and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Read More Show Less

My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead

"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."


Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.

They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.

As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.

But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.

Read More Show Less
Photo: ABC News/screenshot

Federal court judge Reggie Walton in Washington D.C. has ruled Hoda Muthana, a young woman who left her family in Hoover, Alabama, to join ISIS, is not a U.S. citizen, her attorneys told Thursday.

The ruling means the government does not recognize her a citizen of the United States, even though she was born in the U.S.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The Marine Corps could train as many as eight co-ed companies at boot camp each year, and the general overseeing the effort is hitting back against those complaining that the move is lowering training standards.

"Get over it," Maj. Gen. William Mullen, the head of Training and Education Command told on Thursday. "We're still making Marines like we used to. That has not changed."

Mullen, a career infantry officer who has led troops in combat — including in Fallujah, Iraq — said Marines have likely been complaining about falling standards since 1775.

"I'm assuming that the second Marine walking into Tun Tavern was like 'You know ... our standards have gone down. They're just not the same as it they used to be,'" Mullen said, referring to the service's famous birthplace. "That has always been going on in the history of the Marine Corps."

Read More Show Less