PANAMA CITY, FL – Congressman Neal Dunn issued the following statement on the Air Force’s selection of Tyndall Air Force Base as the location for its new MQ-9 Reaper wing:
“The Air Force’s decision is a wise one for our national defense, and it will bring a tremendous boost to our region,” Dr. Dunn said. “Tyndall is a perfect location for this new wing, and this community will welcome the new airmen and their families who come to live and work here with open arms.”
Dr. Dunn worked to provide as much congressional support as possible in making the case to the Air Force that Tyndall was the best location for the new wing base. Congressman Dunn met with the General Mike Holmes, Commander of Air Combat Command, in his Washington office and at Tyndall during the April air show to make the pitch for the base. Soon after he was sworn-in, Congressman Dunn wrote to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and later discussed with her the merits for basing the MQ-9 in the Second District. The Air Force was considering bases in Florida, California, and South Carolina.
The MQ-9 is an armed unmanned aerial vehicle that can perform combat, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The Reaper has a wingspan of 66 feet, a range of 1,000 nautical miles, and a service ceiling of 50,000 feet. It can be armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II, and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions. The new wing will consist of more than 1,600 personnel to support 24 MQ-9 aircraft. Operational elements planned at Tyndall include mission control, launch and recovery operations, as well as the wing headquarters.
Congressman Dunn extended his thanks to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and General Holmes, as he hailed base commanders and local leaders in Bay County for their diligent efforts to position Tyndall for this success today.
“Tom Neubauer, Glen McDonald, the Bay Defense Alliance, and the entire coalition of military and civilian leaders are owed a great debt of gratitude,” Dr. Dunn said. “I thank them for their brilliant efforts on behalf of our region, which will see significant benefits from this basing decision for many years to come. I also wish to thank the Air Force for embarking on a fair, thorough review process that identified the best base to host this new wing.”