Hurricane Michael Update: Severe Damage at Tyndall Exchange

The Felix Lake Express at Tyndall AFB.

The Felix Lake Express at Tyndall AFB.

Exchange stores at Tyndall AFB, Fla., sustained severe damage after the installation took a direct hit Wednesday from Hurricane Michael.

As of Friday, the installation near Panama City remained closed. Exchange managers Lillian Pena and her daughter, Zuleika, were escorted by security forces for a “quick windshield tour” to the main store, two Express stores and Burger King. They discovered extensive damage.

Aerial video and information from Tyndall Command indicate the damage across the installation is severe. Trees and power lines block nearly all roads. Power and basic utilities remained out, according to Tyndall’s Facebook page.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our military community and associates at Tyndall,” said Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull. “There is no greater honor than serving those who serve. Whether in harm’s way at the tip of the spear, back home at the garrison or rebuilding after a storm, the Exchange is all in for our service members and their families.

DAN DANIEL DC, Va. – Associate Josh Arnold prepares generators for shipment to Tyndall AFB and Eglin AFB.

“The Exchange team remains fully engaged to support Warfighters, military families and first responders.”

“The Exchange team remains fully engaged to support Warfighters, military families and first responders.”

-Tom Shull, Exchange director/CEO

This video from WXChasers Facebook page captures the horrific damage at Tyndall. One of the Expresses, its canopy over the gas pumps blown away, is shown at the 8-second mark.

Exchange managers have accounted for 85 percent of associates at Tyndall and are continuing to check on the rest of the team.

Damage across the installation is extensive, but no injuries or fatalities were reported, installation leaders said.

Other developments:

  • Personnel accountability now at 92 percent for Tyndall.
  • A mobile field Exchange is set to deploy early next week from the Waco Distribution Center to Eglin AFB to be staged until it can head to Tyndall. Two more MFEs are ready to go if requested.
  • As the hurricane moved north and turned into a tropical storm, the Fort Bragg South Post Exchange shopping center suffered water damage in the Starbucks and barber/beauty shops. The ceiling collapsed at the furniture store. The South Post mall was turning the corner from damage inflicted when Hurricane Florence tore through the North Carolina installation in September. Teams from facility management the main store and food court were able to pump out most of the water.
  • The Exchange at Fort Lee, Va., suffered minor damage. Most operations were open Oct. 12. The Exchange’s Express, Subway and Einstein’s Bagel were closed at the installation’s Army Logistics University because of no power to that section of the post.
  • Exchange facilities at Fort Pickett, a National Guard installation near Fort Lee, are closed because of no electricity.
  • Exchange operations have returned to normal at Florida’s Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field, which sustained minimal damage. Both are about 90 miles west of Tyndall.
  • Exchange operations at Moody AFB, Robins AFB, Fort Benning, and Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Rucker, Ala.; and Shaw AFB, S.C., returned to normal Friday.
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  1. Rosalie Carter on October 14, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks for this article, good info.

    • Steve Smith on October 15, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Ms. Carter:

      Thank you so much for writing to your Exchange Post. Keep the comments coming!

      Does anybody else out there have comments about what happened at Tyndall? We want to hear! Write in the comment box.

      Steve Smith
      Editor, The Exchange Post

  2. James Kiteley on October 15, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    I was watching the fly over of Tyndall at our barber shop here at Hanscom and I couldn’t believe the damage done to the place. I do hope everyone was safe and made it out of there. I wish everyone at Tyndall the best and hope the community comes together to rebuild all that was lost. <3 <3

    • Steve Smith on October 16, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      Mr. Kiteley:

      Thank you for writing to your Exchange Post. The damage to the installation and Exchange facilities is quite widespread.

      Does anybody else out there have comments about Tyndall, Hurricane Michael and the Exchange? Type them in the comment box!

      Steve Smith
      Editor, The Exchange Post

  3. Joseph Adams on October 17, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Incredible damage like the time I was deployed from Patrick AFB to Homestead AFB for recovery cleanup during Hurricane Andrew (Aug 1992). I hope that this base and the people will recover soon.

    • Steve Smith on October 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Mr. Adams:

      Thank you so much for writing to your Exchange Post. I will send your comments to the Exchange folks at Tyndall.

      Anybody else out there want to comment?

      Steve Smith
      Editor, The Exchange Post

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