News Release: Associated Press
August 20, 2014
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) -- Instead of sunbathers, jet ski rental huts and beachside bars, more than 20 miles of prime coastal property along Florida's Panhandle is home to soldiers, sailors and Marines who use the unique area to practice missions and test weapons.
The stretch of Eglin Air Force Base has been owned by the military since before World War II. A small section is open to the public. Local leaders and military officials say maintaining the military beach has become more challenging through the decades as tourism has exploded in the region.
Nowadays, tourists who wander onto military beaches might encounter military police if they are interrupting a training mission.
Despite the occasional intrusions, military officials say the Panhandle beach is a unique and critical training area for all branches of the military.