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AFIMSC resources team shores up Tyndall AFB

Capt. Whitney Hawkins

Capt. Whitney Hawkins arrived at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., as the AFIMSC Resources Directorate's first on-site responder following Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Hawkins provided support to the Tyndall AFB comptroller and Task Force Phoenix, which was formed to conduct a massive recovery program at the base.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael’s devastating trek across Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, a critical mission unfolded: One of a handful of F-22 Raptors that couldn’t be moved before the storm arrived sat under the threat of a destabilized concrete wall.

The situation required engineers to shore up the wall immediately.

AFIMSC budget experts working with the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency and the 772nd Enterprise Sourcing Squadron mobilized and identified existing funding vehicles to support a rapid stabilization effort, according to Col. Anthony Smith, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center budget director. Their efforts allowed for an engineering team to be immediately available and on site to prevent damage to the aircraft.

“We galvanized around the effort to support the wall stabilization requirement and enabling a successful outcome,” Smith said. “Finding existing funding sources was crucial for this requirement and averted a potentially lengthy contracting process.”

The wall-stabilizing project represents one of many examples that reflect the broader attitude and efforts by the AFIMSC Resources team to give Tyndall robust support in the aftermath of a horrific natural disaster.

“There are people here doing a lot of work to support Tyndall,” Smith said. “The RM team has rallied around Hurricane Michael recovery efforts to lift the burden of people directly affected by the storm.”

Capt. Whitney Hawkins, AFIMSC budget operations deputy chief and the resources directorate’s first on-site responder, provided immediate support to the Tyndall AFB comptroller and Task Force Phoenix, which was formed to conduct a massive recovery program at the base. She was on site from Oct. 21 through 31.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a direct impact on the actual mission on the ground,” Hawkins said. “Traditionally, the Air Force focuses on flight line operations, but in this case, the mission was the recovery effort, which inherently is mission support.”

Hawkins’ on-site contributions focused on two areas. She supported the Tyndall AFB comptroller who had just returned from evacuation and helped identify immediate local wing needs to determine how to execute requirements. Hawkins was also heavily involved in identifying Air Force and AFIMSC recovery and rebuilding requirements, making sure they went through appropriate validation processes without hindering the overall mission.

The recovery effort was unique because it involved organizations from multiple services, she said.

“We had diversity across the services,” Hawkins said. “We figured out the right execution methods for providing Air Force and our sister services the resources they need to support the recovery and rebuilding missions.”

Her efforts enabled a four-person team that gathered at Air Combat Command to capture recovery and rebuilding costs at Tyndall AFB for eventual submission to Congress for supplemental funding.

The team included Lisa Anderson, a senior financial analyst also from the Resources Directorate’s Financial Management Center of Expertise; Lt. Col. Neal Harris from the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency; Capt. James Ellis, a program manager who, like Anderson, completed the Air Force Institute of Technology’s cost analysis program; and 1st Lt. Micheal Wade, a former financial analyst at the then-Air Force Financial Management Center of Expertise. Their report is being reviewed at Air Force and Defense Department levels and will contribute to a request to Congress for supplemental funding.

Anderson’s own FM CoE work with conducting analyses for real property coupled with her involvement in an AFIMSC I-WEPTAC Mission Area Working Group that studied and made recommendations for being more efficient and effective at building bases proved valuable to the team. Those experiences gave her perspective and insight as the team determined rebuilding costs.

Having Hawkins on the ground was a mission-enabler for the team’s efforts, Anderson said.

“We were very cognizant of the fact we didn’t want to reach out to people who may have already been asked similar questions and cause extra work for them. They had enough to worry about,” Anderson said. “So we tempered our questions and narrowed our focus to a few key players at the installation. Capt. Hawkins was invaluable with getting information and getting us in touch with the right people on the ground.”

Before gathering and compiling data, Anderson’s team faced initial challenges in determining the scope of devastation, identifying the specific types of costs that should be included in the report, and managing updates to conditions of buildings and equipment as inspectors provided them.

Though she has conducted dozens of analyses in the more than three years at the CoE, this opportunity involved a rather different and unique opportunity.

“As an analyst, you don’t get to see big Air Force stuff,” Anderson said. “You’re working on your piece of the world. Knowing what you are working on is being reviewed by senior Air Force leaders really drives you so they can make the best decisions to get the base up and running again.

“They don’t have to make Tyndall (AFB) as it was,” she said. “They can make it even better.”