TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
One thousand service members from around the United States are set to call Tyndall Air Force Base’s “Tent City” their temporary home.
In just over two weeks since Hurricane Michael made landfall along the base’s coastline, a blend of civil engineering Airmen have worked around the clock and successfully brought basic necessities to the instillation.
Master Sgt. Angela Duran, 49th Civil Engineering Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, arrived on Tyndall Oct. 13, 2018, just a few days after the storm hit. Her and her team of 27 landed in a C-17 Globemaster, filled with equipment and eager to work.
“When we came in, we had to build our tents first to house us,” she said. “We didn’t really have anything. We brought everything with us so we were able to start tent city.”
The team has since grown to 41, and what started as a 60-tent project has now expanded to 80.
“We put up the first 60 in three and a half days,” said Master Sgt. Jeremie Wilson, 49th CES and fellow team lead. “The new 20 will be done in two days.”
Tents aren’t their only task. They have also put in latrines, showering facilities and AC units for the tents – bringing comfort to the city’s inhabitants.
“It is so rewarding to see people actually be able to go in and use the showers and have a climatized environment to sleep in after their hard day of work,” Wilson said. “They are able to come home, a deployed home, and have some kind of normality.”
Being able to help is especially important to Wilson who is from New Orleans.
“When Katrina hit, I was deploying and a lot people did a lot of great things for my community and family,” he said. “It feels good to be paying it back, since I have been on the other side.”
For the other members of the team who may not have as strong of emotional ties, there is still a pay-out.
“It can be trying work and repetitive,” Wilson said. “They are constantly counting parts and operationally checking equipment, but they are getting the opportunity to actually see the equipment working and being used for a purpose. Everyone is taking a lot of pride in that.”
Duran echoed his sentiment.
“They enjoy it,” she said. “They get to say, ‘this is what we do and what we do it for and we are helping these people out.’ They are getting fulfillment and satisfaction. For some, it is their first time putting training to work.”