WICHITA, Kansas — How much do you love your hometown? If you love living in Wichita, here is your chance to brag.
On Thursday, the Air Force is holding a public forum to talk about the new tanker that flies fuel to other aircraft across the globe.
Wichita’s McConnell Air Force Base is home to the current tankers, but the Air Force is looking for a new home for the new tankers.
“We certainly hope Wichita will be the one to be host to the first KC-46A tankers,” says Kathy Sexton.
Sexton is city manager at Derby. She said her town continues to benefit from McConnell as much as Wichita.
“They buy homes here in the area, they spend money here, they have families that live here. We love them,” says Sexton. “I would hope as many people as possible show up to talk to the Air Force this week to show them we mean business.”
McConnell business means more than $600 million to the Wichita area economy each year.
If the new KC-46A tankers come here, McConnell and Wichita could benefit in a big way.
“McConnell? It’s a well-kept secret to our citizens. It is $619 million that was the most recent published numbers,” says Jack Pulley. “That’s worth a lot to our community. We need the first new tankers here in Wichita.”
Pulley is President of Friends of McConnell.
“I got involved as a member of Friends of McConnell back in the early 70′s,” says Pulley. “I have been a member ever since. It’s a group that promotes the base and lets the Air Force know we love having them here.”
Pulley says the impact of McConnell is as big as any employer in the area. He says jobs, infrastructure and even the arts get going and stay in business, in part, because of McConnell.
“Who else has that kind of impact on one, single community?” says Pulley.
The Air Force has said community participation is important in the military decision on where it will place the new air fueling tankers.
“That’s why everyone needs to go to the meeting this week,” says Pulley. “It’s just crucial. We need to sell Wichita to the Air Force.”
That public participation meeting is at 5 p.m.
The meeting is at the Hughes MetroPlex at 29th Street North and Oliver.