7th Special Forces Group has given the area a needed economic boost

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 05:52 PM.

“It has been a big transition (for Eglin),” Douglas said.

It’s going well, though, he said.

At a sprawling 724 square miles — about the size of Rhode Island — Eglin is the Department of Defense’s largest installation and was ready to absorb the new missions, Douglas said. The community also welcomed the new personnel with open arms.

 “It’s been great, not just for TEAM Eglin, but for the local community as well,” he said. “We’ve got more people coming into what is, in my opinion, a very exciting and diverse installation.”

Many people had expectations that the new Army jobs would be low pay and would not offset the loss of the F-15s, which relocated about 2,000 airmen, Lewis said.

“They were a bit afraid. The Army’s coming. The Army’s coming,” he said. “But these people are very well-paid. This is not a private first class making $20,000 a year.”

The 7th Special Forces soldiers are largely well-educated and earn $70,000 to $90,000 a year.

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