Tyndall Air Force Base sustains ‘catastrophic’ damage

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<pTyndall Air Force Base suffered catastrophic damage when Hurricane Michael<p"I will not recall you and your families until we can guarantee your safety. At this time I can't tell you how long that will take, but I'm on it," Laidlaw wrote. "We need to restore basic utilities, clear our roads of trees and power lines, and assess the structural integrity of our buildings. I know that you are eager to return. I ask you to be patient and try to focus on taking care of your families and each other."

<pThe evacuations were ordered Monday and everyone except the "ride-out" team left the base by Tuesday afternoon. Michael was a strong Category 4 hurricaneMexico Beach.

<pOn Thursday, Air Force officials conducted the first aerial assessment of the base and found extensive damage. A report posted on the base website said the flight line is devastated and every building on the base suffered severe damage, with many considered a complete loss. In addition, the Tyndall marina, the drone runway and Tyndall Elementary School sustained severe damage.

<pPower and basic utilities have not been restored to the base.

<pLaidlaw said in the letter to staff that crews will need time to clear trees from roads and repair power lines before anyone returns.

<pEvacuees who took base transportation to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, were restricted to one large luggage piece per family and one carry on per person. They were asked to make sure they had 72 hours’ worth of items.

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<pFor the latest on Hurricane Michael, visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/Hurricanes