Air Force Lifts Temporary Pause on Humanitarian Assistance Program at Tyndall

Members of the Legendary 823rd REDHORSE convoyed from Hurlburt Field, Florida, to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, to provide relief following Hurricane Michael, Oct. 11-12, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ryan Conroy)
Members of the Legendary 823rd REDHORSE convoyed from Hurlburt Field, Florida, to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, to provide relief following Hurricane Michael, Oct. 11-12, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ryan Conroy)

The U.S. Air Force has lifted a short-lived pause on applications for the Humanitarian Reassignment and Deferment Program at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and is processing new cases, a spokesman for the base said Thursday.

Air Combat Command and the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall lifted the pause late Wednesday and processed six cases, according to ACC spokeswoman Leah Garton.

"The Air Force's priority is taking care of our airmen and their families. We are committed to processing applications in a timely manner to get families a response as soon as possible," she told Military.com in an email.

The command had temporarily delayed the application process earlier in the week because officials were working through which airmen and missions will return to the base in the foreseeable future.

The temporary pause was "to give the commander the time to deliberately consider the personnel requirements for missions that have moved from Tyndall to other bases as a result of Hurricane [Michael] and ensure there are enough personnel to carry out those missions at those new locations," Garton said Wednesday.

A humanitarian permanent change-of-station move (PCS) usually is associated with special circumstances that can be eased by a service member's move to a location of their choice. For example, an airman might PCS to be near a gravely ill family member.

"In the case of Hurricane Michael, those affected by the storm were granted special consideration for humanitarian PCS," Garton said.

Aside from the six processed cases, 858 Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) and humanitarian assignment case requests were opened. Of those, "437 cases reflect [permanent change of station] orders completed or issued, leaving 421 cases pending," she said.

Last month, ACC said that roughly 3,500 airmen have returned to Tyndall, while 575 are currently assigned to temporary duty there.

According to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, most operations, and all but 500 or so personnel, will return in coming months.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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