MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — The Trump administration is confirming that a U.S. Air Force base in the Florida Panhandle that was devastated by Hurricane Michael will be rebuilt so it can house F-35 fighter jets.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted Tuesday that squadrons of F-35 fighter jets will be based at Tyndall Air Force Base outside Panama City beginning in 2023.
The Air Force had previously conducted an evaluation showing Tyndall can accommodate three F-35 squadrons.
With 11,000 military and civilian workers, the base suffered catastrophic damage from the Category 5 storm last October. The estimated cost to rebuild the base is $4.7 billion.
The change in plans, if approved, would mean operational F-22 Raptors from the 95th Fighter Squadron would not return to Tyndall.
Most of the F-22 Raptor fighter jets that were housed at Tyndall before the hurricane were moved to other bases.