Last Updated on December 12, 2016 by cassnetwork
An additional 530 people would be coming to the Logansport area if Department of Defense officials opt to locate a new jet refueling mission at Grissom Air Reserve Base.
Mayor Dave Kitchell, who spoke in support of Grissom at a hearing Thursday night at the Milestone Event Center at the base, said Friday that Grissom is one of four bases under consideration for the location of 12 KC-46A tankers. The other sites under consideration are Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts, and the current preferred site, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.
“With a new administration, a new Secretary of Defense and a new vice president from Indiana, it’s my hope that Grissom will receive greater consideration for location of the tanker mission,” Kitchell said Friday. “Grissom represents a major economic component of our region and establishing a KC-46A mission there would ensure the base’s relevance for the next generation,” he said. “The area suffered in 1991 when the Base Closure and Realignment Commission transitioned the base from active duty to reserve status. This is an opportunity to restore at least a portion of the jobs lost 25 years ago.”
The mayor said if Grissom is not chosen for the KC-46A mission, he would advise the Defense Department to assure the communities affected by Grissom that keeping KC-135s at the base will not mean the eventual demise of the base once KC-46As serve other bases.
Kitchell said the base has a rich history that includes stops by former President Lyndon Johnson, the landing of Air Force One during Ronald Reagan’s 1984 visit to Indiana and the lodging of the “Doomsday” vice presidential jet.
Information presented at the Environmental Impact hearing indicates the KC- 46A will be able to transport up to 12,000 more pounds of fuel than the KC-135 stratotankers currently at the base. The new jets will be able to refuel in tactical missions, be protected from nuclear and heat-seeking missiles and completing two different kinds of refueling on the same mission, all capabilities the KC-135 does not have. The new jets also can accommodate up to 61 additional passengers, a dozen more cargo pallets and 10 more medical patients.
Cass County Commissioners President Jim Sailors also attended the hearing.
Kitchell said the city and county are willing to work with Department of Defense officials to establish a new entrance on the west side of the base in Cass County which has been under consideration. He applauds the work county officials have done to address zoning issues near the base.
SOURCE: News release from Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell