WICHITA, Kan. — McConnell Air Force Base has officially been selected by the United States Air Force for the KC-46A Refueling Tanker mission. Starting in 2016, McConnell AFB will begin receiving 36 new tankers and is budgeted to receive $219 million in improvements to prepare for the new mission.
Elected officials and business leaders played an important role in securing the new mission for McConnell AFB. Several public information hearings were held last year at the WSU Hughes Metropolitan Complex to provide area residents and businesses the opportunity to offer support McConnell’s selection for the tanker mission.
Wayne Roberts, chair of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce Tanker Task Force and the Joint Military Affairs Committee, said that the support and participation from the public helped secure the new mission for McConnell.
“We had a very impressive turnout for both public events and demonstrated strong community support for McConnell,” said Roberts.
Roberts also led a select group of Task Force members who met with Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in 2013 to brief General Paul Selva and others on the many advantages of selecting McConnell AFB for the critical new mission.
Jack Pulley, the president of the Chamber’s Friends of McConnell organization, added, “We did everything possible to support the final selection of McConnell for this mission. They were the best choice for this new program and we’re very pleased that the KC-46As will be placed here in the Wichita area.”
Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer echoed the importance of the KC-46A mission to securing stability and growth for the area.
“McConnell is a critical economic partner for South Central Kansas. McConnell’s growth ensures job growth in the Wichita area for all those organizations and companies that provide support services and products to the Base. We value the $619.1 million economic impact McConnell has on our area,” said Brewer.
Other area officials also expressed their satisfaction with the decision.
“We’re very pleased the U.S. Air Force acknowledged the expertise and professionalism exhibited by the airmen at McConnell by entrusting them with this important new role in the protection of our country and America’s allies around the globe,” said Derby Mayor, Dion Avello.
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