Jay turned on the dock light before walking out the back door of his bayshore house, walking around the swimming pool and down a few stone steps lined with railroad ties to the dock that jotted out 150’ unto choctawhatchee bay, tip toeing out to the end of the dock being very careful not to make any noise so he doesn’t spook any big speckle trout that might have found its way to the light to feed on the bait fish. He sit down at the end of the dock with his legs dangling over the water as the bait fish are drawn to the light and swarmed under his feet. Leaning against the dock piling Jay’s eyes searched the skies for the many star formed constellations that filled the night above Destin Florida.
The choctawhatchee bay was almost 7 miles wide at this point and was a dark uncluttered body of water broken only by the lights on the mid bay bridge that connected the destin peninsula with the Elgin Air Force base reservation on the north side of the bay. The dark forests of what was once the 800 square mile choctawhatchee National forest stood in almost total darkness resting in silence from a day of testing bombs and missiles. Almost 500,000 acres of land covered by pine trees that once were farmed for the Amber liquid from which turpentine was distilled was now the property of the usaf.
Since June 27, 1940, the day title changed hands from public to the private domain of the Air Force, the panhandle of Florida changed from a pioneer economy isolated from any significant population to a thriving vital military community.
Now, Elgin continued to survive the drastic cutbacks and closings of military bases and suffered only minor revisions in its mission and number of personal from the many thousands of men and women who passed through its gates. Eglin was responsible for opening the gates of the emerald paradise to an unnumbered group or retired officers who returned to their own private version of paradise.
We tell people that we live in safest place on earth, destin is surrounded by military bases on the all 3 land sides and we have the coast guard who protect the border to the south of us. At any time day or night you can hear and see the rumble of jet engines in the distance, or the rattling of houses as the bombs drop and the stealthy inflatable boats coming in the pass after picking up para jumpers from the Gulf.
We are so honored and proud of our military and their families, the crew of boggy bayou what’s to say thank to all of you for your service and sacrifice that allow us to live in this beautiful place with peace and freedom.
Credited to Jay Cee Self