Fourteen Florida counties will share $2.45 million from the state’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Programs. The funding will provide support for community projects at 19 military installations.
Florida’s military and defense sector is responsible for almost 9.5% of the state’s economy. That translates to 758,000 direct and indirect jobs that represent $73 billion in spending.
Secretary Hagel got a chance to sit in the cockpit of an F-35 jet, and in the Air Force hangar of the 33rd, stood before an aircraft with his name painted on the side as he made brief remarks to about 100 military personnel. He called the F-35 a critical part of the future of the nation’s defense.
"This is as big a project, the F-35, that we have at the Department of Defense; we have a lot riding on this aircraft," said Sec. Hagel, who noted that the U.S. military and its eight partner countries have a lot invested in the $400 billion dollar jet.
The city of Ft. Walton Beach soon will have a permanent place for residents to show their respect and appreciation for veterans in the community. A Veterans Tribute Tower of Northwest Florida will be constructed at the main entrance of Beal Memorial Cemetery.
The Air Force is hosting two public town hall meetings this week to discuss proposed plans for military training in the Blackwater River and Tate’s Hell State Forests. The first town hall to be held Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the Milton Community Center will focus on the Blackwater River State Forest.
“Well, we want to make sure the public has a good understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish,” says Mike Spaits, Environmental Public Affairs Officer for Eglin Air Force Base.