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Tyndall Airmen participate in community alliance art initiative

(From left to right) U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Aquino, 325th Maintenance Squadron armament technician, Airmen 1st Class Katherine Hanson, 325th Contracting Squadron contract specialist and Tyrone Dowell, 81st Air Control Squadron interface control technician and Senior Airman Raymundo Hernandez, 81st ACS interface control technician, pose for a photo in front of a sculpture the Tyndall Active Airmen Association painted in Panama City Beach, Florida, Feb. 19, 2021. The TAAA participated in an art initiative supported by Panama City Beach and painted a sculpture in the form of a sea creature, “Turbo the Turtle.” The art project epitomized the resiliency of the local community and depicted Tyndall Air Force Base’s strong community alliance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves)

(From left to right) U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Aquino, 325th Maintenance Squadron armament technician, Airmen 1st Class Katherine Hanson, 325th Contracting Squadron contract specialist and Tyrone Dowell, 81st Air Control Squadron interface control technician and Senior Airman Raymundo Hernandez, 81st ACS interface control technician, pose for a photo in front of a sculpture the Tyndall Active Airmen Association painted in Panama City Beach, Florida, Feb. 19, 2021. The TAAA participated in an art initiative supported by Panama City Beach and painted a sculpture in the form of a sea creature, “Turbo the Turtle.” The art project epitomized the resiliency of the local community and depicted Tyndall Air Force Base’s strong community alliance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Joshua Aquino, 325th Maintenance Squadron armament technician, left, and Raymundo Hernandez, 81st Air Control Squadron interface control technician, right, unveil a sculpture the Tyndall Active Airmen Association painted at a ceremony hosted in Panama City Beach, Florida, Feb. 19, 2021. The TAAA painted a sculpture in the form of a sea creature, “Turbo the Turtle,” which was a part of a local resiliency initiative supported by Panama City Beach, highlighting the tie between the community and Tyndall Air Force Base Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airmen Joshua Aquino, 325th Maintenance Squadron armament technician, left, and Raymundo Hernandez, 81st Air Control Squadron interface control technician, right, unveil a sculpture the Tyndall Active Airmen Association painted at a ceremony hosted in Panama City Beach, Florida, Feb. 19, 2021. The TAAA painted a sculpture in the form of a sea creature, “Turbo the Turtle,” which was a part of a local resiliency initiative supported by Panama City Beach, highlighting the tie between the community and Tyndall Air Force Base Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Magen M. Reeves)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Members of the Tyndall Active Airmen Association were showcased during a ceremony for a community alliance art initiative hosted by Panama City Beach, Florida, and Sunshine Art Center Feb. 19.

Tyndall Airmen painted a sculpture of a giant sea turtle to be placed at the Veterans Memorial Park in Panama City Beach.

“Together we teamed up with our volunteers and decided to do a creative, more artistic project,” said Senior Airman Raymundo Hernandez, 81st Air Control Squadron interface control technician and TAAA president. “Senior Airman (Joshua) Aquino came up with the design and I think it says that we are a part of the community.”

“I was the lead for the event,” said Senior Airman Joshua Aquino, 325th Maintenance Squadron armament technician and TAAA member. “I orchestrated the project and partnered with the TAAA to help with it.”

Back in November 2020, Panama City Beach announced a call to action asking community partners to submit design proposals for sea creature sculpture paintings to be placed at prominent locations in the community.

“The Sunshine Art Center and PCB asked to submit designs for sea life sculptures and we got to choose what we created,” said Hernandez. “After the designs were submitted TAAA was selected to move forward with our design.”

The TAAA chose an Operational Camouflage Pattern because they felt it would represent military resiliency and the military presence in the area. An OCP design is what is currently being worn as the everyday uniform by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army, and has also been wore by others services in deployed locations over the years.

Hernandez, Aquino and six other Airmen painted the sculpture, taking a total of seven hours.

“I chose to be a part of this project because I wanted to show the community that Tyndall is here and is a part of this community,” said Aquino.

The finished project will be placed at the Veterans Memorial Park.

“It’s a good feeling when they see us helping out,” said Hernandez. “It’s satisfying to have the support of the local community. We hope (our project) showcases coming together and we want to do more projects in the future.”

The sculpture is the second community alliance project the TAAA has done and according to Hernandez, the hope is that it won’t be the last.

“We adopted a beach access point and we clean it every month,” said Hernandez. “We just want to get more out there and do more fun projects and events outside of our work-life.”

The TAAA has approximately 30 members but are hoping to grow by participating in community projects and events.

“The TAAA is a small organization and so it’s our mission to expand TAAA and make it more well-known,” said Hernandez. “It’s important to showcase to people so they can know more about it. We are primarily E-4 and below and our purpose is to bring morale to the Airmen.”

“The TAAA is important because it allows Airmen to showcase their talents as well as become part of something bigger [like] being involved in the community,” said Aquino.

For more information, or to find out how to get involved, email taaa.tyndall@gmail.com.

Airmen 1st Class Katherine Hanson, Tyrone Dowell, Zane Geiger, Carlos Ochoa, Amanda Angel and Joshua Gray also helped paint the turtle.