OUR MILITARY BASES
Northwest Florida is home to many military bases. Much of our nation’s defense depends on the personnel training and weapons development programs taking place right here on the Emerald Coast.
Eglin Air Force Base
Located in Okaloosa County, Eglin Air Force Base is the largest air force base in the world covering 463,000 acres or 724 square miles and 123,000 square miles of water ranges in the Gulf of Mexico. Eglin employs approximately 10,000 military personnel and 7,000 civilians. Eglin develops war‐winning capabilities on time and on cost. It is home to the 7th Special Forces Group, the 33rd Fighter Wing, 96th Test Wing, the 6th Ranger Fighting Battalion, 53rd Wing, 43rd Fighter Squadron, 372nd Training Squadron, and the Air Force Armament Museum. Some of the aircraft flying out of Eglin is the A‐10, F‐15, F‐16, F‐22, F‐35, and the C‐130 Transport. Eglin is also the only base east of the Mississippi River equipped for supersonic flight.
Pensacola Naval Air Station
Located in Pensacola, Pensacola NAS is home to the Blue Angels, the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, and one of the largest naval aviation museums in the country. Also on the base is part of the National Seashore including historic Fort Barancas. Pensacola NAS is known as the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” because it provides the primary flight training for every naval aviator, flight officer and enlisted aircrewman. The on‐base port is deep enough to dock aircraft carriers and was once home to the USS Lexington and the USS Forrestal. The base employs more than 16,000 militaries and 7,400 civilian personnel. Note: Blue Angel practices are open to the public and are usually on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 8:30. For more information call: (850) 452‐2583.
Located on Hwy. 98 between Navarre and Destin, Hurlburt Field is home to the Air Force Special Operations Command and the 1st Special Operations Wing. The special operations forces’ core tasks are Forward Presence and Engagement, Information Operations, Precision Employment/Strike, and Special Operations Forces Mobility. Hurlburt Field employs more than 8,500 militaries and almost 2,000 civilian personnel. The aircraft seen flying out of this base include the U‐28A, CV‐22 Osprey, UH‐1 Huey, AC‐130U Spooky gunship, and the MC‐130 Combat Talon II. The planes can be seen from the highway, and on a clear night, you may see tracers coming from the aircraft.
Tyndall Air Force Base
Located between Panama City and Mexico Beach, Tyndall Air Force Base was home to 55 F‐22 Raptors. Since Hurricane Michael destroyed much of the base, all of the Raptors have since moved to other bases. By the year 2023, there is a possibility the base will be home to 70 F‐35s and their three squadrons. Some training could resume, however, very soon.