Task Force Phoenix cleans up Tyndall Air Force Base

Published: Nov. 30, 2018 at 11:48 AM CST
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After Hurricane Michael caused major damage to Tyndall Air Force Base last month, officials worked quickly to get critical missions back up and running as soon as possible.

A special initiative called "Task Force Phoenix" is a large part of the recovery process for Tyndall.

The detonation and explosive disposal of ammunition that was damaged when a building collapsed on it during Hurricane Michael is not typically what's thought of as hurricane clean-up. But on Tyndall Air Force Base after the major storm's wrath, it was a safety necessity.

"It was a Navy asset so we collaborated with them and we determined that it was not safe to ship and now we've taken care of it appropriately," SMSgt Rob Brown, Superintendent with the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD Flight, said.

"We were able to safely extract those munitions without anything accidentally going off, without anybody being injured, and then disposed of them," Col. Pat Miller, Task Force Phoenix Commander with Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, said.

Working with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and several other groups, this wasn't the only advantage of the partnership.

"This is our first blast event since Hurricane Michael and it was really good for us to be able to support the base and then also to exercise our equipment," Brian Skibba, a Civil Engineer Research Laboratory Manager with Air Force Civil Engineer Center said.

One of reasons that Tyndall missions like these are recovering and operational despite the massive physical toll Hurricane Michael took on the base, is because of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center's support of Task Force Phoenix called in just a few days after the storm.

"Task Force Phoenix is essentially the engineering recovery effort for Tyndall Air Force Base. We were tasked by the commander of Air Combat Command to assess the damage, make determinations on facilities, and preserve as much as we can." Col. Miller said.

In addition to assisting with recovery of the missile and other damaged explosives, Task Force Phoenix has been involved in virtually every aspect of base recovery from base security to building repairs and debris removal.

"This is a true testament to how we as a Force can come together from anywhere and we can make things happen so that we can continue our mission and get F-22s flying over the Gulf again." SMSgt. Brown said.

Similar to Task Force Phoenix, Task Force HARP, commanded by Colonel Seth Frank, is helping Tyndall airmen and families with housing, family living issues, and relocation. HARP stands for Housing, Assignment, Relocation, and Posture.