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SAF Deputy Chief Information Officer surveys Tyndall

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer visits Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael.

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer, center, smiles while he briefs members of First Air Force leadership at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 18, 2018, about the current state of Tyndall’s communication infrastructure and in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The eye of Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall directly over Tyndall Oct. 10, 2018, and caused significant damage to the installation’s infrastructure and the Panama City area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer visits Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael.

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer, briefs members of First Air Force leadership at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 18, 2018, about the current state of Tyndall’s communication infrastructure and in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The eye of Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall directly over Tyndall Oct. 10, 2018, and caused significant damage to the installation’s infrastructure and the Panama City area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer visits Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael.

U.S. Air Force Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communications Squadron commander listens to Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer, during a briefing in First Air Force Dec. 18, 2018 as he goes over future plans for the base’s communication infrastructure after Hurricane Michael. Hurricane Michael was a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall Oct. 10, 2018, and caused significant damage to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and the surrounding area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer visits Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael.

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer, listens to a Tyndall Airman Dec. 18, 2018, about the work the 325th Communication Squadron’s Airmen did to safeguard important equipment instrumental to the Radio Frequency transmissions infrastructure on Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in timeframes before and immediately after Hurricane Michael made landfall. Hurricane Michael was a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall Oct. 10, 2018, that caused near catastrophic damage to the Panama City area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer visits Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael.

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer, left, and U.S. Air Force Maj. James Johnson, 325th Communications Squadron commander, right, share a lighthearted moment while viewing the devastation that occurred after Hurricane Michael in the 325th CS Radio Frequency transmissions building Dec. 18, 2018. Marion was sent to Tyndall to see Tyndall’s damage first-hard and meet the leadership and Airmen working to reconstitute the base, more specifically the communications functions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer visits Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael.

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer, left, and U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, sit and discuss a plan for the rebuild and improvements to the communications infrastructure for Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael Dec. 18, 2018, in the 325th FW commander’s office. Within his duties, Marion assists in leading three directorates and supports 54,000 cyber operations and support personnel across the globe with a portfolio valued at $17 billion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer visits Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael.

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer, meets with members of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., leadership in the 325th Fighter Wing commander’s office Dec. 18, 2018. Marion was sent to Tyndall to because he wanted to see Tyndall’s damage first-hard and meet the leadership and Airmen working to reconstitute the base and discuss the plan for Tyndall’s communications infrastructure in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall Oct. 10, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer visits Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael.

Bill Marion, Secretary of the Air Force deputy chief information officer, inspects damages to a 325th Communication Squadron building on Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., after Hurricane Michael Dec. 18, 2018. Within his duties, Marion provides oversight of the Air Force’s Information Technology portfolio including the Information Technology investment strategy, networks and network-centric policies, communications, information resources management, information assurance, and related matters for the Department of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Solomon Cook)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

In the weeks following Hurricane Michael’s landfall over Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., various members of Air Force senior leadership and their representatives have come to survey the damages and coordinate with Tyndall leadership for a plan for the installation. The most recent visitor was Secretary of the Air Force Deputy Chief Information Officer, Bill Marion.

Within his duties, Marion assists in leading three directorates and supports 54,000 cyber operations and support personnel across the globe with a portfolio valued at $17 billion. He provides oversight of the Air Force’s Information Technology portfolio including the Information Technology investment strategy, networks and network-centric policies, communications, information resources management, information assurance, and related matters for the Department of the Air Force.

“I wanted to see Tyndall’s damage first-hand and meet the leadership and Airmen working to reconstitute the base, more specifically the communications piece,” said Marion. “The national and military missions at Tyndall are critical, and ensuring the various radar, networks, radio and other needs are fully understood is a key step to working the right resources to reconstitute.”

The 325th Communications Squadron anxiously anticipated Marion’s visit and appreciated his insight and reassurance for a plan for a way forward.

Marion’s visit is but one step in the right direction in the long road forward to not only return Tyndall to pre-hurricane operations, but a leap forward in the future of communications across the Air Force. Marion integrates Air Force warfighting and mission support capabilities by networking air, space and terrestrial assets. Additionally, he shapes doctrine, strategy and policy for all cyberspace operations and support activities. These talents, expertise and capabilities will undoubtedly be used in the coming months and years for the installation.

“The damages were exactly what the pictures online depicted,” explained Maj. Jonathan Abueg, SAF deputy chief information officer strategic communication chief. “While he realized the devastation of the base, Mr. Marion was shocked to see the conditions the Airmen are working through to reconstitute all aspects of networking and communication on the base.”

“Across the board, the Tyndall Airmen are doing amazing things given the extremely challenging conditions they have to work with and I was very impressed with all of them,” Marion continued. “We have great Airmen in the Air Force, but these men and women took it five more levels up.  It was obvious the top-notch dedication to mission as they diligently worked to get the base operational and services restored to the level they were, if not, better than before.”

As the visit concluded and a two way exchange of information was passed from Tyndall leadership to Air Force leadership, a sense of hope and determination to make the best out of bad situations was felt by many.

“As unfortunate as this event is to Tyndall, from a communications standpoint, this allows the Air Force the opportunity to deliver information technology in a game-changing approach, partnering with the industry expertise and using their best practices to deliver the network we need at Tyndall supporting all facets of multi-domain command and control capabilities,” Marion concluded.