Military Life On The Emerald Coast

The military presence is the primary economic generator in Okaloosa County. Okaloosa supports three military installations, Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, and Duke Field, collectively on the largest base in the world; Eglin Air Force Base. These three installations are collectively know as the Eglin Complex. Local bases support over 60,000 active military, civil service, and military dependents, and the Eglin Complex's overall economic impact is measured at $5,000,000,000 annually.

The strong military presence in Okaloosa County creates a technical and economic foundation for growth and expansion. Due to this military presence, there are many technology-based and defense contracting firms located here. It's estimated by the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County (EDC) that defense contracting results in over 350 local businesses awarded employment contracts, over 21,000 jobs in other industry sectors being created, and over $475 million generated each year.

Eglin Air Force Base (AFB)

Occupies 463,128 acres across Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton Counties. Eglin AFB is the largest military installation in the Department of Defense, at over 724 square miles in land ranges, over 134,000 square miles in air space, and over 123,000 square miles in water ranges.

Eglin Air Force Base, the Air Armament Center (AAC), belongs to the Air Force Materiel Command and is responsible for development, acquisition, testing, deployment and sustainment of all air-delivered weapons. Eglin's range supports training activities for numerous operational military units, military schools, and various federal agencies. These training activities are conducted on an individual, group, or joint operations basis. Eglin's technically sophisticated facilities and its massive land-water test range complex make it an invaluable asset to the Air Force mission and to the economic development of the community.

Hurlburt Field

Located in the southern portion of the Eglin reservation in Okaloosa County occupying 6,634 acres. It is the headquarters of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the Air Force component of U.S. Special Operations Command; and the 1st Special Operations Wing, AFSOC's oldest and largest unit. AFSOC's mission is to provide Air Force special operations forces for worldwide deployment in the conduct of the War on Terrorism in order to disrupt, defeat, and destroy terrorist networks that threaten the United States, its citizens, and interests worldwide. Responsibilities are to provide aerospace surface interface, agile combat support, combat aviation advisory operations, information warfare, personnel recovery and rescue operations, precision aerospace fires, psychological operations, specialized aerospace mobility and specialized refueling to unified commands.

Duke Field

Located within the northern section of Eglin's reservation and employs 1,200 reservists and 300 full-time civil service personnel. It is the home for the 919th Special Operations Wing, the only special operations unit in the Air Force Reserve. The 919th SOW reports to the Air Force Reserve Command's Tenth Air Force in peacetime, and becomes part of AFSOC at Hurlburt Field if mobilized for conflict. Duke's total economic impact in the community is estimated at $51 million annually.