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Comm. Squadron Airmen renew career as Tyndall rebuilds

Air Force Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communication Squadron commander, congratulates Staff Sgt. Abrahm Paulding (center) and Senior Airman Antoine Brown (right), 325th CS cyber systems supervisors, on their re-enlistment at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 30, 2018. The ceremony was the first to take place on Tyndall since Hurricane Michael hit in October. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

Air Force Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communication Squadron commander, congratulates Staff Sgt. Abrahm Paulding (center) and Senior Airman Antoine Brown (right), 325th CS cyber systems supervisors, on their re-enlistment at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 30, 2018. The ceremony was the first to take place on Tyndall since Hurricane Michael hit in October. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

Air Force Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communication Squadron commander, gives the oath of enlistment to Staff Sgt. Abrahm Paulding (center) and Senior Airman Antoine Brown (right), 325th CS cyber systems supervisors, during their reenlistment ceremony at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 30, 2018. The ceremony was the first to take place on Tyndall since Hurricane Michael hit in October. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

Air Force Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communication Squadron commander, gives the oath of enlistment to Staff Sgt. Abrahm Paulding (center) and Senior Airman Antoine Brown (right), 325th CS cyber systems supervisors, during their reenlistment ceremony at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 30, 2018. The ceremony was the first to take place on Tyndall since Hurricane Michael hit in October. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

Air Force Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communication Squadron commander, gives the oath of enlistment to Staff Sgt. Abrahm Paulding (center) and Senior Airman Antoine Brown (right), 325th CS cyber systems supervisors, during their re-enlistment ceremony at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 30, 2018. The ceremony was the first to take place on Tyndall since Hurricane Michael hit in October. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

Air Force Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communication Squadron commander, gives the oath of enlistment to Staff Sgt. Abrahm Paulding (center) and Senior Airman Antoine Brown (right), 325th CS cyber systems supervisors, during their re-enlistment ceremony at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 30, 2018. The ceremony was the first to take place on Tyndall since Hurricane Michael hit in October. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Tyndall Airmen took part in the first reenlistment ceremony to happen on the base since Hurricane Michael destroyed the area, Oct. 10.

Staff Sgt. Abrahm Paulding and Senior Airman Antoine Brown, 325th Communications Squadron cyber systems supervisors, were reenlisted by their commander, Maj. James Johnson, Nov. 30, 2018 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

The Airmen said they felt assured in their decision to renew their service commitments.

“It felt very good to know that as I am re-enlisting, Tyndall itself is kind of starting a new chapter with the Air Force and the Airman who still reside here,” Brown said, who’s been stationed at Tyndall for almost three years. “I felt this kind of exuberance about it because it reminds me of the things we use to do during normal operations.”

Paulding said the support and encouragement of his squadron also made things feel like they’re getting back to normal.

“I felt great because we had the squadron there for the reenlistment and we haven’t had much time to congregate since the storm because we are so busy working,” he said.

Both Airmen said that now they look forward to revitalizing the base and fulfilling their goals.

“My goal is to become a commissioned officer in the [Air Force],” Brown said. “I plan on serving in the Air Force for at least 20 years and contribute any and everything I can because the Air Force has sure given me a lot.”

After the hurricane, communication squadron Airmen have shifted their focus to the new needs of Airmen taking part in the rebuild.

“Before the hurricane my job mainly consisted of providing Tyndall with network connectivity for unclassified and classified data communications and maintaining the current network infrastructure,” Brown said. “After the hurricane my job has shifted more towards the installation of new network capabilities as the requirements change because of shifting personnel.”

Paulding said some of the new challenges brought about by Tyndall’s altered environment have kept them on their toes.

“The challenges now as I see them are keeping the most important communication equipment online for operational purposes and keeping communication security in mind as we continue to expand and shift,” Paulding said.

Despite these challenges, both Airmen agree that the Air Force is still worth investing their time into and the challenges are dwarfed by the positive relationships and bonds the Air Force has given them the opportunity to form.

“Without a doubt the best thing about my Air Force career so far has been the people I have met along the way,” Brown said. “The friendships I have now are irreplaceable and they are a major part of why I reenlisted.”