The 325th MXS complex goes vertical

  • Published
  • By Venessa Armenta
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

As Tyndall Air Force Base's fleet of F-35A Lightning IIs continues to grow, construction in Zone 1 is well underway.

Zone 1 is slated consist of 12 newly constructed facilities upon completion. Zone 1 facilities directly support Tyndall's mission in projecting unrivaled combat airpower by not only housing the aircraft, but the maintenance equipment needed to maintain mission readiness as well.

One of the first facilities projected to be complete is the Maintenance Squadron Complex, which will include the 325th Maintenance Squadron.

“The 325th MXS was previously operating out of two geographically separated locations while supporting our wing’s previous F-22 Raptors Fighter Training Unit mission,” said Col. Robert Kongaika, 325th Maintenance Group commander. “We only recently consolidated all our personnel and equipment at Tyndall. All of our back shops currently operate out of temporary facilities, which is unheard of for a [home station] unit.”

Kongaika discussed how the new maintenance squadron facility being built in Zone 1 will enable the consolidation of the squadron’s fabrications and accessories flights as well as the commander and her support staff into one single facility.

Construction on the Maintenance Squadron Complex began in June 2022, and the facility is estimated to be complete by Fall 2025.

“Right now, it is second in the sequence of what we are seeing go vertical,” said Melissa Lewis, Natural Disaster Recovery Division Zone 1 project manager. “You’ll see quite a bit of steel going up on hangar one, but the maintenance [squadron] is trailing right behind.”

Lewis explained that the sequence begins with underground utilities such as plumbing and electric. After this is complete, the contractors begin preparing for the building to go vertical. Each new facility in Zone 1 and across the “Installation of the Future” were designed with resistance and resiliency in mind, as Tyndall is no stranger to Category 5 hurricanes.

As construction on rebuild Zone 1 progresses, Lewis and the team of support engineers continue to make routine site visits to ensure they remain updated.

“Our counterparts take us to the site on their [all-terrain vehicles], and we’re able to have those candid conversations about what’s going on,” said Lewis. “They take us all around, and point out changes they are making, or maybe a deficiency they are tackling with the contractor. We have those conversations outside of a meeting area so we can see in action what’s going on very closely and get eyes on how everything is looking.”

Beyond her team of project managers and engineers, Lewis has worked closely with various agencies as well as the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that the maintenance facility, as well as the entirety of Zone 1, falls in line with Tyndall’s updated mission.

The total cost for the Maintenance Squadron Complex is more than $65 million, and the Zone 1 project is the largest Air Force military construction project awarded funding in the history of the Department of Defense.

“It is incredible to be a part of this historic moment, not only for the Air Force and this program but also as a female engineer; it is really exciting to help lead that forefront,” said Lewis. “You don’t often get to do ground up, let alone 12 facilities.”