Wednesday morning, Santa Rosa County residents from Milton, to Pace, to Navarre reported loud booming noises shaking windows and raising concern. The source turned out to be a closed air support mission by the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron out of Eglin Air Force Base, according to Chrissy Cuttita, Public Affairs. Cuttita said the mission originally scheduled for Friday will now be on April 28 due to weather. Lois Walsh, also with Eglin AFB's Public Affairs, said residents in Navarre, Gulf Breeze, and possibly parts of Pensacola might hear detonations. Walsh said they will be F-15 jets this time.
Walsh said the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron is responsible for conducting operational tests and evaluations, tactics development, and programs for F-15C, F-15E, and F-16CM aircraft. She said the 85th tests and evaluates current and future weapons, associated electronic warfare subsystems, the newest air-to-ground munitions, air-to-air missiles, electronic warfare systems, and associated subcomponents and avionics. It also provides operational fighter expertise to U.S. Air Force Headquarters, Department of Defense agencies, and the aerospace industry in the development of future aircraft and employment techniques and concepts, according to Walsh.