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Boat ops in the Bay

Local boat captains and mariners operate fishing boats equipped with makeshift guns and weapons invaded the Choctawatchee Bay area Feb. 6 during the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron exercise, Combat Hammer. The boat swarms helped create a realistic environment to provide exercise participants an opportunity to train like they fight. (U.S. Air Force/Ilka Cole)

Local boat captains and mariners operate fishing boats equipped with makeshift guns and weapons invaded the Choctawatchee Bay area Feb. 6 during the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron exercise, Combat Hammer. The boat swarms helped create a realistic environment to provide exercise participants an opportunity to train like they fight. (U.S. Air Force/Ilka Cole)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Residents may experience noise when the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group conducts boat operations in the Gulf of Mexico and in Choctawhatchee Bay, Nov. 1-3 and Nov. 6-8.

Each morning, fighter aircraft will release munitions between 8 a.m. and noon approximately 20 nautical miles South of Destin over the Gulf of Mexico. The test will be conducted within a cleared range safety area which includes boat surveillance. Notices to mariners will be issued prior to missions, and flyers will be handed out at the local marina.

In the afternoons between 1 and 5 p.m., approximately 30 boats traveling in formation will transverse between the Mid-Bay Bridge and the Highway 331 Bridge, to include 10 to 20 miles south of Destin over the Gulf of Mexico. The boat formation will be used as visual targets by military aircraft flying over the area. No weapons or ammunition will be involved with this boat formation.

Please be advised that some boats will have mock-up, fake deck guns and rocket launcher tubes. The boats will also use marine flares as visual markers.

These operations are part of the 53rd Wing’s Weapon System Evaluation Program. For more information, please contact the Team Eglin public affairs office at 882-3931 or the 53rd Wing public affairs office at 882-0423.

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