TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright visited Tyndall Air Force Base Oct. 27, 2018, for the second time since Hurricane Michael caused catastrophic damage.
Since Vice President of the United States Mike Pence announced plans to rebuild Tyndall earlier this week, the base has been actively strategizing a way forward.
After taking time to recognize Airmen from around the base for their efforts to support the post-storm recovery, Goldfein and Wright received an update brief from Col. Brain Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander.
Laidlaw led with information on Task Force Harp, which is focused on the base's most important asset, its people.
"We are now leaning forward and squadron commanders are looking down their rosters, person by person, trying to figure out what works best for each situation," he said.
The status of Task Force Phoenix came next, which is responsible for infrastructure.
Laidlaw said their job is to save what they can and, from there, build the base that is needed.
To support that mission, 1,200 people have been brought in so far.
"Every single one of these people were sent here for a reason and they have been doing amazing work," said Laidlaw. "We are taking people in as fast as we can feed them and as fast as we can find a place for them to live and every single one of them is doing exactly what we asked them to do."
In addition, he announced the base now has power and they are carefully and systematically turning on various circuits. The sewer is fully operational to include the waste water and treatment plant.
Of the 704 buildings, not including housing, more than 300 have been inspected and at least 37 percent are fixable.
"If you would have asked me two weeks ago how many of our buildings we thought would be operational, I would not have told you 37 percent," Laidlaw said. "That is a good news story."
His said he is in awe of what his team has been accomplishing.
"This has been a proud two weeks to be in the Air Force," said Laidlaw. "As traumatic as this has been for our community, the 1,200 people we have on this base are getting the opportunity to do exactly what we have trained them to do. We have the right people, right here."
Goldfein said he was impressed with the actions taken before the storm to ensure the safety of the Airmen and families there.
"You all saved lives," he said. "In 48 hours you evacuated 11,000 people off the base and 100 miles away and not a single injury. That is a record. I don't think that has happened in the history of this kind of storm."