Sunday, August 30, 2009


As you can see, the Panama City International Airport is moving right along and drawing a lot of high profile visitors. One of the biggest stories for the Airport is, whether they will land Southwest Airlines or not. Southwest Airlines is still considering the three Panhandle Airports, Pensacola, Northwest Florida Regional (Fort Walton Beach), and the Panama City, and is expected to make an announcement soon. Stay tuned.

Sen. Nelson, Rep. Boyd Come to New Airport 08/28/09 - 05:06 PM By: Mary Scott Speigner Bay County, Fla:

The brand new Panama City Bay County International Airport site is 69% finished with plans to open in May of 2010.
Now national companies are being recruited to come to the area, bringing the possibility of more jobs. The new airport site was full of big name industries Friday, many already in the area and others looking to get business here. Lawmakers were also there promoting their area.
Senator Bill Nelson, Congressman Allen Boyd, and former Florida House Speaker Allen Bense all came out to the new airport to encourage industry in Northwest Florida. “You’ve got a real aerospace corridor here that is going to increasingly become a magnet for high tech aviation aerospace and defense work,” Nelson said. Defense contractors already in the area set up to show off what they have to offer the big companies like Being and Northrop Grumman, and they seem interested. “A new facility like this, the most modern airport in the U.S. with all the industrial space for suppliers that exist in this area it’s a perfect storm. It’s a great opportunity for Northrop Grumman for the other companies in the region and Northwest Florida,” said Jim McIngvale of Northrop Grumman. Besides the commercial flights you’ll be using, area leaders say this new airport has the opportunity to become the world’s next great aerospace corridor.
“With all this aerospace and defense work here…they’re going to set up an industrial aerospace park and so you’re going to get a hub of economic activity,” Nelson said. “This new airport can now be a hub that highlights all of the great resources we have here,” said Rep. Allen Boyd (D).
Senator Nelson even compared the new airport site to Orlando’s airport because of the major planning going into expansion. “Of course Orlando today is one of the major airports in the entire world. That’s what Panama City now has as an opportunity,” said Nelson.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Hello, Ladies and Gentlemen. I had a great opportunity to get a tour and meet with the key Army Officials for the new Army Base being built just south of Crestview on Hwy 85 as the result of BRAC 2005. As you will see by the photos they have moved some dirt fast in the last couple of months. In fact, it was noted, this project is so far ahead of schedule. I have noted many times and from the information I received today it seems to hold true. This new facility will attract many more Army operational units in the future and be one of the most state of the art facilities for the Army.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Okay folks. Do you get in the game, sit on the sidelines, or watch from the bleachers? These are the questions running through everybody's head today. Do we buy and sell real estate the same as we did years ago? I think not. The end user is more educated than before, but this is sometimes to their detriment? Analysis - Paralysis. In our area, homes are getting multiple offers? Quanity of quality homes is reducing fast. Basicaly, it is supply and demand in the simpliest form. Don't forget, real estate is still one of your best investments.

Strong gain in existing-home sales maintains uptrend, says NAR
ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 21, 2009 – Florida’s existing home sales rose in July – the 11th month in a row that sales activity increased in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR). Statewide existing home sales in July also rose over the previous month’s sales level.

Existing home sales rose 37 percent last month with a total of 15,882 homes sold statewide compared to 11,595 homes sold in July 2008, according to FAR. Statewide existing home sales in July increased 0.2 percent over June’s statewide activity. Florida Realtors also reported a 48 percent rise in statewide sales of existing condos in July.

Eighteen of Florida’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) reported increased existing home sales in July; the same number of MSAs also showed gains in condo sales. A majority of the state’s MSAs have reported increased sales for more than a year (13 consecutive months).

To gain insight into current trends in Florida’s real estate industry, the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies conducts a quarterly survey of industry executives, market research economists, real estate scholars and other experts. According to the recent second quarter 2009 survey, investor confidence in the outlook for business and availability of money are reasons for cautious optimism.

“I think we’re on the road to recovery and even though most markets report they’ve seen the bottom, it’s going to be a long climb,” said Timothy Becker, the center’s director. He noted that the investment outlook for single-family development increased to its highest level since the survey began, with more respondents than ever believing it is a good time to buy.

Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $147,600; a year ago, it was $193,800 for a 24 percent decrease. According to housing industry analysts with the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in June 2009 was $181,600, down 15 percent from a year earlier, according to NAR. In Massachusetts, the statewide median resales price was $306,000 in June; in California, it was $274,740; in Maryland, it was $274,008; and in New York, it was $189,900.

Several positive market factors are influencing the housing sector, notes NAR’s latest industry outlook. “Historically low mortgage interest rates, affordable home prices and a large selection are encouraging buyers who’ve been on the sidelines,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Activity has been consistently much stronger for lower priced homes. We expect a gradual uptrend in sales to continue due to tax credit incentives and historically high affordability conditions.”

In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 5,035 units sold statewide compared to 3,396 units in July 2008 for a 48 percent increase. The statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $108,300; in July 2008 it was $168,700 for a 36 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price was $183,300 in June 2009, according to NAR.

Interest rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.22 percent last month, down significantly from the average rate of 6.43 percent in July 2008, according to Freddie Mac. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s smaller markets, the Pensacola MSA reported a total of 371 homes sold in July compared to 321 homes a year earlier for a 16 percent increase. The market’s existing home median sales price last month remained level compared to a year ago at $157,800. A total of 48 condos sold in the MSA in July, up 23 percent over the 39 units sold in July 2008. The existing condo median price in July was $250,000; a year earlier, it was $325,000 for a 23 percent decrease.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


As you will see below, the Veterans are focused on buying real estate. With the largest U.S. Military Base in the world at our door steps, it brings thousands of military to our area, which include Active Duty, Retired, and former military personnel. I would say, when you ask a prospective buyer, "Were you in the military?", the answer is probably yes.

LAS VEGAS – Aug. 20, 2009 – The number of homes purchased in Nevada by military personnel using VA loans funded by USAA jumped 360 percent this year and refinancings are up 250 percent, the San Antonio-based financial services company reported.

Across the country, home purchases backed by Veterans Affairs increased by more than 100 percent. Active-duty military, retirees and reservists are taking advantage of a perceived buyer’s market, with some becoming homeowners for the first time, USAA financial planner Joseph Montanaro said.

Some pockets of the country such as Nevada, northern Virginia and San Diego are seeing dramatically higher increases than others, he said.

“Is it a good time to buy? Clearly, a lot of people are answering, ‘Yes,’” Montanaro said. “Interest rates are historically low, home prices have taken a beating and so it’s much more attractive.”

Another incentive is the first-time homebuyer tax credit of $8,000, which ends Dec. 1, he said.

Gary Adkin has been approved for a $250,000 loan by the VA and has spent several months looking for a home, ideally a foreclosure or short-sale in the $170,000-to-$200,000 range.

He’s made several offers, often outbid by investors with cash.

“It’s really frustrating,” said Adkin, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1965-72. “I’m qualified, the loan’s pending. It’s just finding a house. Every time we get in escrow, something happens and it goes bad. Last time, we had a home inspection done and found out the people didn’t disclose a problem with the house.”

VA purchases have definitely picked up after a bit of a lull, Elie Morris of Realty Executives in Las Vegas said. He counted 1,405 such home sales in the last six months.

“It is a trend because conventional loans are almost nonexistent,” Morris said. “The only loans going through right now are (Federal Housing Administration) FHA and VA.”

With its warm climate and relatively inexpensive housing, Las Vegas is a desirable location for lots of retirees, including some from Nellis Air Force Base, Morris said.

USAA, founded in 1922 by a group of U.S. Army officers to self-insure themselves, reported assets of $68.3 billion in 2008 and net worth of $14.6 billion. The Fortune 500 company earned $423 million in net income in a year when most financial services posted record losses and the S&P 500 dropped by 37 percent.

“Obviously, the VA guarantee makes lenders more willing,” Montanaro said. “On the buyer’s side, they have the advantage of no down payment, so they can keep some powder dry if they need it later.”

He said military buyers still have to crunch the numbers. They need to evaluate any contingencies such as their employment situation, whether they’ll be moving anywhere or any change in marital status.

Mark Stark, owner and broker of Prudential Americana, said he’s absolutely seeing an uptick in homebuyers from the military.

“It’s a great opportunity to use their VA loan,” Stark said. “Many times, they can get the first-time homebuyer credit. With no money down and the lowest prices in a while and low interest, you don’t have to twist their arms.”

Home sales have increased by 75 percent in Las Vegas through the first half of the year with more than 3,000 closings in each of the last four months, SalesTraq research firm reported.

Stark said 38 percent of those sales are going to investors and most are cash transactions on the low end. He just sold a home last week for $22,000.

The government needs to do more to help all homebuyers, Stark said. He’d like to know why the tax credit can’t be given to everyone, not just first-time buyers.

“That’s the biggest message. I know they’re talking about $15,000 (credit) for everyone, but they’d better come out with something,” he said.

Copyright © 2009 Las Vegas Review-Journal, Hubble Smith. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This news and others being published around the country has the F-35 Training Program on schedule with classes beginning in October 2009 at Eglin AFB. This is more exciting news for the area and around the globe with 12 countries participating in this program and bringing their future pilots to Eglin AFB for their training.

U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Marks Another First
By AMY McCULLOUGH Published: 18 Aug 2009 10:37

The U.S. Marine Corps' version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter passed another milestone in August when it was successfully refueled in the air by a Marine KC-130.

A short takeoff/vertical landing variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II takes on fuel from a KC-130 tanker near Fort Worth on Aug. 13. The fuel transfer marked the first time an F-35 has used the Navy- and Marines-style probe-and-drogue ref (LIZ KACZYNSKI / LOCKHEED MARTIN)

The test, which took place over Fort Worth, Texas, was the first in a "short series" that will clear the way for the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing variant for extended-range flights, officials for Lockheed Martin, the fighter's manufacturer, said in a news release.

Related Topics

"The F-35 program is on the cusp of a tremendous expansion in flight test as a large number of new aircraft enter the test fleet this year and early next year," Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin's executive vice president and F-35 program general manager, said in the release. During the tests the aircraft will upload fuel from the tanker at 10,000, 15,000 and 20,000 feet - at speeds ranging from 230 to 288 mph - using a probe-and-drogue refueling system, a flexible hose that trails from the tanker and connects to the receiving aircraft with a "basketlike drogue" at the end. The Aug. 13 flight was the first time an F-35 completed an aerial refueling test using the Marine Corps and Navy's refueling system. Maj. Joseph T. "O.D." Bachmann was at the fighter's controls. The Corps is scheduled to begin fielding the JSF in 2012. The first F-35 training pipeline will open later this year at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., creating a joint training wing that will feed pilots and maintainers into the Corps, Navy and Air Force during the next five years.
The training wing, expected to standup Oct. 1, will spawn the first squadrons for all three services and create the first career paths for the largest fighter jet program in history.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


This is a huge step in meeting the increasing demands on medical care for our active, former, and retired military members in our area. This decision to place this facility here in our area in just one more step in recognizing what Eglin AFB means to the country today and in the future. As noted below, we not only have thousands of veterans in our area, with more veterans and retired members coming all the time, coming to enjoy the many amenities Eglin AFB has to offer to its men and women of the Armed Forces.

VA mental health center OK’d
By KATIE TAMMEN Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4440 Staff Writer Tom McLaughlin contributed to this report.

A veterans mental health center will open in Okaloosa County next year. Few details about the new center were available Friday afternoon, but the facilities traditionally offer an array of programs, including mental health screenings and post-traumatic stress disorder counseling, according to a news release from U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller. Right now, the Department of Veterans Affairs operates more than 230 such community outreach centers across the country to provide services to veterans and their families. Each center is staffed with social workers, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, counselors and outreach specialists — most of whom are veterans themselves. “It’s more great news for Okaloosa County,” said Miller, R-Chumuckla. Construction is expected to begin soon, but a site had not been selected as of Friday afternoon, Miller said. The center likely will not be built on Air Force property, he added. The decision to build a center in Okaloosa is partly because of the persistence of residents such as County Judge Patt Maney, a former brigadier general in the Army Reserve. “It was really a community effort. It’s a tremendous testimony to the community’s loyalty to their veterans and their families,” Maney said. Friday’s news was about two years in the making. Maney began campaigning for a center in Okaloosa in 2007 to help meet the needs of the county’s 33,000 veterans. Over the years, Maney has seen a number of veterans in his courtroom who could get the services they needed only if a veterans center opened in the area. When Maney received the news Friday, he said he felt “excitement, enthusiasm and gratitude.” “We had an awful lot of people working to make this happen,” he said. A spokesperson for the VA couldn’t be reached late Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Just another example of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council growing our community with a diverse job market.

From Larry Sassano, President of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council

Leading economists predict that manufacturing in the U.S. will come back, at least the output associated with manufacturing. Of the 2 million jobs lost since January 2008, only about two-thirds are predicted to return by 2013. Leading the way back are the production of sophisticated high-tech goods such as: medical equipment and defense electronics, satellites, some advanced machinery, cell phone applications, biotechnology, and Internet routing equipment. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 30, 2009, released its Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment rates for all 372 metropolitan areas across the U.S. Unemployment rates were higher in May than a year earlier in all 372 metropolitan areas.
Manufacturing data was available for 331 metro areas (Florida has 20 Metro areas, with Okaloosa County as one area known as the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin, MSA—Metropolitan Statistical Area). Between May 1999 and May 2009, exactly 16 U.S. metro areas experienced net gains in manufacturing employment. That’s about five percent of metro areas where data was available. Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin ranked second with the highest number of manufacturing jobs gained (1,500). Las Vegas-Paradise, NV was number one with 4,700 jobs gained.

Why is this significant?
Areas that are abundant in manufacturing tend to be more self-sufficient, not needing to rely so
heavily on outside exports to stabilize their local economies. Additional evidence of this is shown in our unemployment rate. Our MSA unemployment rate is 7.1% as compared to Florida’s 10.6%. Our MSA unemployment rate is also the 5th lowest in the state today! The Economic Development Council’s current active projects list supports this continued manufacturing growth in our County. 5 of our 10 most active projects are manufacturing facilities. These projects represent a projected 800 new manufacturing jobs with an average projected pay that is approximately 125 percent higher than the average wage ($18.40) in Okaloosa County today.
Manufacturing and manufacturing jobs are important and Okaloosa County is leading the way to new growth through our targeted industry sectors that support quality production and quality employment. We are leading Florida out of this recovery and this recession.

Your EDC is doing its job to sustain this employment and our excellent quality of life.


The key to this message below is simple. Special Operations Missions will grow throughout the country. Why? Because this is how we fight now. With the Air Force Special Ops Command at Hurlburt and now the 7th Special Forces on their way to the Panhandle, we are poised for some great things in the operations missions of the U.S. Military. The big questions posed to our community here in the Panhandle are. Are we ready? Can the banks open their pocket books? Who will be the leaderships in the private sector?

Admiral says Bragg's special ops will grow
By Henry CuninghamMilitary editor

Fort Bragg's special operations population will grow by at least 500, even with 7th Special Forces Group leaving in 2011, Adm. Eric T. Olson said Tuesday in Fayetteville. The four-star admiral is in charge of U.S. special operations forces. He spoke to about 260 people at the Military Leadership Business Luncheon of the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce at the Crown Center. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Lumberton Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, introduced the admiral. About 2,200 soldiers will move to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in two years due to the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment mandate, Olson said. About 4,000 family members will go to northern Florida with the soldiers, he said.
"The overall trend in special operations forces here in the Fayetteville area is a plus," Olson said.
Fort Bragg's 3rd Special Forces Group is activating its 4th Battalion on Tuesday. Much of the other growth is "incremental," he said. Civil affairs and psychological operations units also are growing gradually. About $110 million of military construction is scheduled to accommodate the growth, he said. Olson said after the luncheon that he has recommended further growth of 3 percent to 5 percent over the next four to five years. Olson is commander of U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. His command has a total of about 56,000 people worldwide, he said. Special operations forces usually work in small groups in hostile or austere areas. They do jobs ranging from distributing information leaflets to performing humanitarian relief to conducting manhunts for terrorists. "Also the special operations community is being injured and is dying at a higher rate than the rest of the force," he said. "We are subject to improvised explosive devices that are now the primary casualty producer on the battlefields. Special operations forces more so than most other forces are also subject to the close-in fight. They certainly take a higher percentage of gunshot wounds at close range." Olson is the first admiral to head the four-star command that oversees special operations of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Retired Gen. James J. Lindsday, who became the first commander of U.S. Special Operations Command in 1987, attended the luncheon. Fort Bragg is the home of two of Olson's commands, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the Joint Special Operations Command, which is commanded by a Navy three-star admiral. The Army has about 15,000 special operations in the area, and the Navy, Air Force and Marines have 2,000 to 3,000, he said. In a departure from what is normally heard at functions in the Fayetteville area, the closing music for the event was the Navy song, "Anchors Aweigh."Military editor Henry Cuningham can be reached at or 486-3585.


If you stop looking at the national news and focus on the Panhandle, you will see a much difference world. A good example is Southern Resorts, the sister company of RE/MAX Southern Realty, which has experienced one of the best years in the company's history. This kind of news is throughout the panhandle and is being discussed in the cars sitting in the traffic. They are asking themselves, "I thought we were in a recession and where did all these people come from".

Announcement near on low-cost carrier for new airport
By PAT KELLY / News Herald Writer
2009-08-11 18:20:55

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Airport officials might be just weeks away from announcing the addition of a new low-cost air carrier to the Panama City-Bay County International Airport under construction near West Bay, officials said Tuesday.
Bay County Tourist Development Council executive director Dan Rowe made the comment during a discussion on spring tourism data presented by Klagas Group president Walter Klagas, who urged the TDC not to give up on European visitors, despite a recent dip in visits.
Although 3,936 European visitors this spring comprised only a small portion of the 2009 March-May total, that market experienced the largest decline this year, dipping 42 percent from a total of 6,773 visitors last spring.
“Don’t ignore it,” Klagas said. “This is potentially a very strong market for you.”
Rowe said airport officials were probably only 45 days away from making an announcement about a low-cost carrier’s commitment to the new airport, set to open in May 2010.
“We are in the 11th hour,” board member Andy Phillips agreed. “We are very, very close.”
One of the carriers mentioned by TDC members Tuesday was Southwest Airlines, one of the possible carriers airport officials are trying to recruit. The value of such a low-cost carrier would be in chartered international flights, Phillips said.

Spring tourism
Despite national economic woes and a rise in U.S. unemployment, spring tourism was up in Bay County by 7.3 percent in 2009 over the same period last year, Klagas said. In addition, spring 2009 tourism expenditures also increased by 5.6 percent over the same March-May season in 2008.
This was particularly welcome news because August 2009 numbers seem to have taken an early drop, Klagas said, even though the final summer figures for this year have not been tabulated.
The Internet continues to be a huge tool for potential travelers seeking vacation information, Klagas said, with 84 percent of Bay County tourists using on-line info compared to 77 percent last season.
Many potential tourists are using Web-based reservations to make last-minute decisions based on the best-available deals, observed TDC board member Yonnie Patronis.
Board member Buddy Wilkes said he was surprised and pleased at the 90 percent satisfaction level by local tourists cited in the survey, especially because earlier data from selected Southeast focus groups had tagged Panama City Beach as “crowded” and “rundown.”
“We lost a lot of our legacy travelers when the old hotels went away,” he said. “We are building a new base.”
The biggest tourism increases this spring were seen from the Florida market and the Southeast market, which rose 16 percent and 27 percent, respectively, Klagas said. Visitors from all other markets dropped, including an 11-percent decline from the Northeast, a 3.6 percent drop from the Midwest and a 6.3-percent dip from the Southwest.
The Midwest, which represented the second highest number of tourists to Bay County after the Southeast in spring 2009 — 91,446 compared to 126,268 — has been particularly hard hit by the current recession, Klagas said.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Why is this important. This is just the start of the largest military base "Going Green". You can imagine how much energy Eglin uses now, just imagine how much they will be using in the future with the tremendous growth this military base will be receiving. In a breakfast meeting I had with Major General Davis and Colonel McClintock, the leadership of Eglin AFB, they noted that Eglin will be taking a number of steps to "Go Green" with a variety of Energy sources.

Innovation helps Eglin goes green on energy by Mike Spaits Team Eglin Public Affairs
8/7/2009 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As the biggest electrical consumer in Northwest Florida, Eglin Air Force Base is proving Kermit the Frog to be wrong - it can, in fact, be "easy to be green." On Tuesday, representatives from the Choctawhatchee Electrical Cooperative, Inc., presented members from the 96th Civil Engineer Group with a certificate worth $81,000 in capital credits that the base then converted to renewable energy credits. The credits are based on the amount of electricity purchased during 1988. Since CHELCO is a not-for-profit cooperative, they return a percentage of their profits to their members annually after 20 years. Prior to this year, CHELCO's capital credit dividend was returned to Eglin in the form of a check for cash; however, that money went straight to the Treasury Department. By requesting they convert them to renewable energy credits, Eglin keeps the return local and also make strides to helping the environment and conserving energy. "This is the kind of initiative that will really make a difference in helping Eglin set the standard as the leader in energy conservation for the Air Force," said Col. Bruce McClintock, 96th Air Base Wing commander. Renewable energy credits are tradable environmental commodities which represent proof that one megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. In this case, Eglin purchased power from a plant in Campbelton, Fla., that captures trapped methane gas produced in a landfill and used it as fuel for an engine/generator that produces electrical energy. That specific electrical energy is considered "green" because when used as fuel, the methane is converted into carbon dioxide. Methane is about 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide. The Air Force policy is to increase facility renewable energy use at annual targets of 5 percent by Fiscal Year 2010, 7.5 percent by FY13, and 25 percent by FY25 - 50 percent of the increase must come from new renewable sources. Additionally, in January, the Florida Public Service Commission adopted a standard to require the state's investor-owned utilities to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2020. According to Teresa Jordan, 96th CEG Engineering Energy Chief, this is just one of many efforts Eglin is working on to reduce energy consumption and mitigate harmful environmental substances. "This is a very exciting time because we've got so many projects getting off the ground right now that are going to shape the future of Eglin's energy use for years to come," said Ms. Jordan. A biomass and waste-to-energy feasibility study is underway at Eglin to identify material that can be converted into useful forms of energy at the base. And these are just a few of the efforts currently being studied and developed. Americans import roughly 58 percent of the country's petroleum needs. It is anticipated that the US will continue to import an increasing percentage of energy supplies going forward. This increased demand for imports, coupled with dwindling resources and instability in the Arabian Gulf region makes clear the need for an effective energy strategy. The overarching vision in the Air Force Energy Initiative is "Make Energy a Consideration in All We Do." According to the AF policy, this initiative will be met by reducing demand, increasing supply and changing the culture within.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


As the Vice President of the Northwest Florida Military Officer's Association, it is a great pleasure to be among both the active and retired military officers of this great area. Today, I had the opportunity to have Major General Davis give our organization an update on some of the goings on at Eglin AFB and the surrounding area. As the General noted a few times, "Think about it -- This is just what we know about today". Meaning, Eglin AFB has caught the attention of the Aerospace and Defense industry around the world, and specifically, all of the military services of the United States. Below is part of the Power Point Presentation General Davis gave today for your review. Any questions, give me a call.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Click on the below and take a look at the Panama City International Airport as of July 2009. As you can see much has been completed. It is hard to understand, how many people still don't know how far along this project is to completion.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Duke Field looks forward to Army neighbors
Mona Moore
2009-07-31 18:18:32

DUKE FIELD — The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision didn’t mention the Air Force reserve base by name. But the home of the 919th Special Operations Wing may turn out to play a key role in the bed-down of Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the F-35 training school.With its headquarters just across State Road 85, the Army will rely on Duke Field for some exercises and deployment. But its pending arrival in 2011 barely has made a ripple at the 919th. Col. Jon Weeks, commander of the 919th SOW, said his future neighbors have had no impact on operations. The Special Forces will use some facilities on Duke that Weeks said the 919th is more than willing to share. “We look at it as we’re a tenant here on Eglin,” Weeks said. “As a tenant, as they go through the (bed-down) options, the folks will look at it as a team effort approach.”The Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) has no aircraft. The group will coordinate with Army and Air Force groups for air operations training. Weeks said the 919th most likely will have opportunities to do some joint training with the group.“We look forward to working with them,” he said.The 919th is the only special operations wing in the Air Force Reserve. With more than 1,100 reservists, the wing provides maintenance and support for special operations missions. In fiscal 2009, the wing has already flown more than 600 combat sorties in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result of operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, Weeks said airmen of the 919th are accustomed to integrated efforts with the Army. In fact, two airmen were decorated with Army awards for their achievements in Iraq.The team approach may also play a role in dispelling the F-35’s impact on Valparaiso. Lawyers and officials for the city have lobbied for Duke Field as the preferred alternative for F-35 missions. It is one of many solutions the Air Force is examining.Weeks expects some F-35 training at Duke and is confident conflicts with the bed-down will be resolved.“I believe it’s all going to work out for Team Eglin and for the nation,” he said.Most the 919th is at Duke Field. But its most recent addition works in conjunction with the 3rd Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, where the 919th has a MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial System. Weeks said it is not uncommon for a wing to have installations elsewhere. Relatively new reserve operations in New Mexico are not an indication that other squadrons will leave Duke to make room for the BRAC bed-down.“No, no, no. Not at all,” he said. “We’re not going anywhere.”