TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The pen may be mightier than the sword, but when the pen and the sword work together, they are unstoppable. The 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office is Tyndall’s pen.
The public affairs office provides advice and counsel to the leaders of the 325th FW, and communicates the commander’s priorities and messages through three core functions: command information, media operations and community engagement.
“Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed.’ You have to have public support, especially around a military base if you expect to achieve any kind of mission accomplishment whatsoever,” said Herman Bell, 325th FW Public Affairs chief.
To maintain public support for Tyndall and the Air Force, the public affairs office keeps them informed through visual information and journalism products.
“The broadcast program is new to us,” Bell said. “We have long sought to have broadcasters assigned to the wing because that is the way people have started to communicate, much more than the written word. We needed that medium to reach a wider audience.”
Broadcasters arrived on station about three years ago, and since then, new personnel and equipment have led to the creation of broadcasting programs like the Tyndall Report.
“We have some really talented broadcasters in the Air Force, but military audiences already know what we do, and the broadcast program needs to extend outside the gate to get out to local media outlets,” said Don Arias, 325th FW Public Affairs chief of command information.
Through the Tyndall Report, public affairs broadcasters work with Bay County television stations to get weekly Tyndall news to their viewers with one to two minute news segments. The stations air the Tyndall Report every Wednesday.
“The taxpayers have a right to see what is going on behind the gates,” Arias said. “We don’t want Tyndall to be the forbidden kingdom of Bay County. They’re our neighbors and our friends, and they need to know what we’re doing, so we’re very grateful to our news partners for helping us keep the public informed.”
In addition to broadcasting products and the Tyndall Report, public affairs has seven photojournalists who use photos, video, audio and journalistic tools to tell the Air Force story and inform internal and public audiences. They provide print content to the Gulf Defender, www.Tyndall.af.mil and official Tyndall social media outlets.
The public affairs team also photographs important events around base, such as retirements, military training graduations and wing-level ceremonies. If it is important to the wing’s leaders, an Airman from public affairs is quietly standing by with a camera bag in tow. The office also handles all studio photography for Team Tyndall, such as official biography portraits and official passports.
Photojournalists are also on-call to take alert scene photos of any criminal investigations or accidents that require an investigation on base.
The community engagement section is another important public affairs link to the people of Bay County. This section acts as a liaison to local organizations like the Bay Defense Alliance, Military Affairs Committee, the Rotary Club and others. The base tour program, the honorary commanders program, and a host of others are administered by the section.
“Maintaining good community relations is key to ensuring we are being good neighbors,” Arias said. “We are very fortunate to be located in Bay County, where people are so supportive of the military mission and military people. Bay County is full of a lot of stout-hearted patriots who really appreciate what our Airmen are doing every day to keep us free.”
All of these capabilities ensure the commander’s priorities are properly and effectively communicated to the Airmen of Tyndall and the community outside the base, as well as national and international audiences.
“I think the trust the Air Force puts into public affairs underscores its commitment to engaging the American public and letting them know that we are being good stewards of the resources given to us, and that we are standing ready to defend the Constitution against any enemy that may challenge the freedoms we enjoy today,” Arias said. “When the public knows what we are doing, I think they will be supportive of our mission. When they don’t know what we’re doing is when problems happen. So we’re here to make sure that doesn’t occur.”
Arias credits the Airmen of public affairs for the success of the office.
“No matter how technical our operations become here at Tyndall, or how wide our global missions expand, there will always be public affairs practitioners telling the Air Force story,” Arias said. “By continuing to provide professional public affairs support to the command, our Airmen serve their country while serving as positive role models to society.”
To suggest a story, ask questions or share comments on news you want to see and how you would like to see it, call Public Affairs at (850) 283-4500. To request official photography support call: (850) 283-2126.