TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
In the weeks following Hurricane Michael’s landfall over Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., various members of Air Force senior leadership and their representatives have come to survey the damages and coordinate with Tyndall leadership for a plan for the installation. The most recent visitor was Secretary of the Air Force Deputy Chief Information Officer, Bill Marion.
Within his duties, Marion assists in leading three directorates and supports 54,000 cyber operations and support personnel across the globe with a portfolio valued at $17 billion. He provides oversight of the Air Force’s Information Technology portfolio including the Information Technology investment strategy, networks and network-centric policies, communications, information resources management, information assurance, and related matters for the Department of the Air Force.
“I wanted to see Tyndall’s damage first-hand and meet the leadership and Airmen working to reconstitute the base, more specifically the communications piece,” said Marion. “The national and military missions at Tyndall are critical, and ensuring the various radar, networks, radio and other needs are fully understood is a key step to working the right resources to reconstitute.”
The 325th Communications Squadron anxiously anticipated Marion’s visit and appreciated his insight and reassurance for a plan for a way forward.
Marion’s visit is but one step in the right direction in the long road forward to not only return Tyndall to pre-hurricane operations, but a leap forward in the future of communications across the Air Force. Marion integrates Air Force warfighting and mission support capabilities by networking air, space and terrestrial assets. Additionally, he shapes doctrine, strategy and policy for all cyberspace operations and support activities. These talents, expertise and capabilities will undoubtedly be used in the coming months and years for the installation.
“The damages were exactly what the pictures online depicted,” explained Maj. Jonathan Abueg, SAF deputy chief information officer strategic communication chief. “While he realized the devastation of the base, Mr. Marion was shocked to see the conditions the Airmen are working through to reconstitute all aspects of networking and communication on the base.”
“Across the board, the Tyndall Airmen are doing amazing things given the extremely challenging conditions they have to work with and I was very impressed with all of them,” Marion continued. “We have great Airmen in the Air Force, but these men and women took it five more levels up. It was obvious the top-notch dedication to mission as they diligently worked to get the base operational and services restored to the level they were, if not, better than before.”
As the visit concluded and a two way exchange of information was passed from Tyndall leadership to Air Force leadership, a sense of hope and determination to make the best out of bad situations was felt by many.
“As unfortunate as this event is to Tyndall, from a communications standpoint, this allows the Air Force the opportunity to deliver information technology in a game-changing approach, partnering with the industry expertise and using their best practices to deliver the network we need at Tyndall supporting all facets of multi-domain command and control capabilities,” Marion concluded.