TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Even with all that goes on at Tyndall one of the last things expected to be seen here is magic tricks. The Travel Channel' s street magician, JB Benn, visited Tyndall on March 29. He and his crew filmed for their TV show "Magic Man," which focuses on Mr. Benn stunning the average bystander on the street with his magic. Filming began at 11:30 a.m. at the new Tyndall gate where Mr. Benn was confronted by two Security Forces Airmen. They looked shocked when he asked to see their ID. While he was checking the facts on the Airman's driver's license, he magically transformed it into his. Then, Mr. Benn pulled out his wallet, which held the Airman's ID in one of the slots. Once through the gate, the crew went to Hanger 1, where Mr. Benn demonstrated to F-22 Raptor maintainers and pilots how to loosen a bolt with just the power of their mind. He passed the bolt around to ensure it was genuine and then held it out in the air in front of everyone.
Airman 1st Class Aja Woodard, 325th Maintenance Operations Squadron database manager, held up her hand and watched in amazement as the nut rotated off and fell into her palm.
"I was surprised for the simple fact that I was watching him closely waiting for him to slip up," Airman Woodard said. "I enjoyed meeting him. He seemed like a nice, personable guy." The last stop for spreading the magic was Fire House 1. The firefighters were running through drills when Mr. Benn stepped in to check things out. He gathered a few Airmen up and asked to see one of their phones. Grasping it firmly with both hands, he flipped the cell phone completely around leaving it rotated, but still completely functional.
Once he twisted the phone back to the original factory settings, Mr. Benn played a magical game of Russian roulette. He filled up five shot glasses, four with water and one with lamp oil. After rotating the glasses, he proceeded to take the shots until only one glass was left. There in the fire station with the firefighters huddled around he lit the last one on fire.
Airman 1st Class Steven Tomlinson, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter, was part of that huddle.
"The magic show was great," said Airman Tomlinson. "JB Benn had some really cool tricks, and I was really shocked at a few of them. His magic was unbelievable!" Ms. Brandie Tucker is the supervising producer for the show. She oversees much of the big picture and is in charge of the where, what, who and when of the filming process. Ultimately, it was her decision to film at Tyndall. "As a Florida native, when I think of Panama City, I think of the strong Air Force presence, and I wanted Tyndall Air Force Base to be the feature of the episode," Ms. Tucker said. "In my opinion, there is nothing more impressive than what goes on at a place like Tyndall. Not only did we want to feature that, but we wanted to give the Airmen something special as well." The crew also featured the local beaches with all the spring breakers for this episode, but said the Airmen here provided more excitement. "Filming at Tyndall was amazing," said Ms. Tucker. "It was the highlight of the episode. We were all so pleased with the outcome and just truly grateful to be there. I would like to thank everyone at Tyndall that helped us out and made our filming there a great success, but more importantly, thank you to all of the Airmen for their service."
The episode of Magic Man featuring Tyndall's Airmen is projected to air this summer on the Travel Channel.