Final Site Selection Would Strengthen Local Economy
The Wichita area received positive economic news today with the selection of Wichita’s McConnell Air Force Base (AFB) as a finalist for the primary phase of two KC-46A tanker base programs, a Formal Training Unit (FTU) and a Main Operating Base (MOB). Area leaders have been working closely with the Kansas Congressional delegation and Governor Brownback’s office to ensure that McConnell remained vital to global air mobility and was selected as a candidate for tanker basing.
The Air Force announced site selection criteria for the tanker bases in May, 2012. Local leaders assembled a Tanker Task Force shortly after that announcement to help secure McConnell’s place on the final site selection list. Members of the task force represented the Friends of McConnell (a civilian support organization), Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, Derby Chamber of Commerce, the City of Wichita, and Sedgwick County.
Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer welcomed the much–anticipated positive news. “McConnell Air Force Base brings an annual economic impact to our community of more than $550 million. McConnell is a vital community partner that provides jobs, national security and supports our status as the Air Capital of the World. The City of Wichita appreciates the work of the Congressional delegation in its promotion of McConnell as a tanker base.”
“The men and women of McConnell AFB work hard every day carrying out their worldwide mission,” said Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Tim Norton. “This announcement today is yet another indicator, among many, of how well our McConnell military personnel do that mission. We are so very proud and fortunate to have a military organization of this caliber among us. We know that McConnell Air Force Base is and has been a great neighbor, and we want to continue to support them in any way we can.”
“We also want to commend everyone who participated in and supported the Tanker Task Force,” said 2013 Chamber Chair, Debbie Gann (VP of Corporate Communications & Administration at Sprit Aerosystems). “Our work involved supporting the efforts of Senator Jerry Moran, Senator Pat Roberts, and Congressman Mike Pompeo. They were instrumental in ensuring that the decision-makers in Washington understood why McConnell’s central location and award-winning reputation made it the right choice for both of these opportunities. We’re fortunate to have their leadership in strengthening the economic impact of the Air Force in south central Kansas.”
McConnell is also one of two Air Mobility Command finalists for the prestigious 2013 Commander-in-chief’s Installation Excellence Award. The Commander-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award selection committee has been visiting Wichita this week as part of their selection activities.