Shalimar & Eglin Air Force Base
Located along North Florida’s glittering Gulf Coast, Shalimar offers powdery, sugar white beaches, emerald green waters, enjoyable golf courses, and much more. Fort Walton Beach is home to family-friendly attractions such as parks, museums and aquariums, not just the calm, green waters and cool, white sand that make this northwest Florida destination a family favorite. The busiest time of the year is the summer season, with spring break being a close second. Thousands of people flock to the Emerald Coast during these seasons. Fort Walton Beach has a very high quality of life due to it’s great location, sound community plan, first rate schools, numerous churches, a low crime rate and excellent recreation opportunities.
Economic Factors Information Shalimar and Surrounding Areas
The economy of Shalimar is driven by two primary factors: tourism and the military. There are two major Air Force bases one of which borders Shalimar. Eglin AFB, located 1 Mile North of the Town of Shalimar, is home to the Air Force Material Command’s Air Armament Center and the 96th Air Base Wing, the 46th Test Wing, and Air Combat Command’s 33rd Fighter Wing. Eglin is geographically the largest Air Force base in the World and thus home to joint exercises, and missile and bomb testing. There is support industry in the area that benefits from the presence of the bases, including military contractors and the service industry. The other is Hurlburt Field, located immediately west of the Town of Mary Esther. Home to Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the 1st Special Operations Wing, and the Joint Special Operations University.
Weather Information Shalimar
Shalimar has a very warm humid subtropical climate. While we do experience 4 seasons here, the Fall/Spring/Winter months are very mild. The Weather is typically hot and very humid, from late May to mid-September. Fall months, from mid-September to early December, are generally warm and less humid. The Winter months are very short and mild, from mid-December to late February and Spring months are warm, from late February to late May.
Shalimar and surrounding areas are very wet, averaging 69 inches of rain each year, more than any area in Florida. The wettest season is summer, and the driest autumn. Snow and freezing rain are very rare. Freezing rain occurs about once every 5–10 years. Snow occurs about once every 10–15 years.
Eglin Air Force Base InformationEglin Air Force Base is a United States Air Force (USAF) base in the western Florida Panhandle, located about three miles (5 km) southwest of Valparaiso in Okaloosa County.
The host unit at Eglin is the 96th Test Wing (formerly the 96th Air Base Wing). The 96 TW is the test and evaluation center for Air Force air-delivered weapons, navigation and guidance systems, command and control systems, and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) systems.
Eglin AFB was established 88 years ago in 1935 as the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base. It is named in honor of Lt. Col. Frederick I. Eglin (1891–1937), who was killed in a crash of his Northrop A-17 attack aircraft on a flight from Langley to Maxwell Field, Alabama.
Eglin AFB History
In addition to its development and testing mission, Eglin also served as the training site for the Son Tay Raiders in 1970, the group that made the daring attempt to rescue American POWs from a North Vietnamese prison camp. In 1975, the installation served as one of four main U.S. Vietnamese Refugee Processing Centers, where base personnel housed and processed more than 10,000 Southeast Asian refugees at the Auxiliary Field Two “Tent City.” Eglin again became an Air Force refugee resettlement center processing over 10,000 Cubans who fled to the U.S. between April and May of 1980.
On 11 July 1990, the Munitions Systems Division was redesignated the Air Force Development Test Center. During the 1990s, the Center supported test and evaluation for the development of nonnuclear Air Force armament including next generation precision-guided weapons; operational training for armament systems; and test and evaluation of command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) aerospace navigation and guidance systems.
On 1 October 1998, as part of the Air Forces’ strategic plan to guide the service into the 21st Century, the Air Force Development Test Center became the Air Force Materiel Command’s Air Armament Center (AAC). As one of AFMC’s product centers, AAC is responsible for development, acquisition, testing, and fielding all air-delivered weapons. AAC applies advanced technology, engineering, and programming efficiencies across the entire product life cycle to provide superior combat capability. The Center plans, directs, and conducts test and evaluation of U.S. and allied air armament, navigation/guidance systems, and command and control (C2) systems and supports the largest single base mobility commitment in the Air Force.
AAC accomplished its mission through three components: the Air Force Program Executive Office for Weapons with two systems wings and a systems group, the 46th Test Wing, and the 96th Air Base Wing. Recently the AAC provided our warfighters with the munitions and expeditionary combat support to dominate the enemy in Operations ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM. During this time Department of Defense, the Air Force, and AFMC presented the Air Armament Center with awards in acquisition, test, and combat support.
On July 18, 2012, the Air Armament Center was deactivated as part of a consolidation effort to reduce Air Force Materiel Command’s number of centers from 12 to five. On the same day, the 46th Test Wing and 96th Air Base Wing were merged to create the 96th Test Wing. The 96 TW houses all of Eglin’s test and support functions on the US Air Forces largest installation.
With an increasing reliance on the security of technology and networks, the 96th Cyber Test Group was activated and assigned to the 96 TW on 8 December 2017 to test and validate Air Force systems and networks for effectiveness, resiliency and interoperability. Three squadrons 45th Test Squadron, 46thTest Squadron and 47th Cyberspace test Squadron were assigned as subordinate units, and operate at Eglin and 5 other geographic locations.
In late 2018, following the destruction of Hurricane Michael, Eglin provided support for displaced Tyndall AFB personnel and logistics to assist in base recovery. Support provided to 1300 Tyndall personnel including Air Force Aid Society Grants to relocation/PCS assistance. Air Force leaders made the decision to temporarily relocate the F-22 Formal Training Unit of 325th Fighter Wing (ACC) to Eglin AFB, to include F-22 Raptor and T-38 Talon aircraft.