‘It’s been a busy summer’ — Dover AFB projects detailed at Mil-Con Breakfast

Photos Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — U.S. Sen. Tom Carper offered a grand salute for Dover Air Force Base and its critical support mission on Monday morning.

As the Kent County-based 436th and 512th Airlift Wing detachments continue a critical role in destroying the ISIL movement overseas, Delaware’s senior statesman couldn’t be prouder of the home force.

“We’re literally kicking their (posteriors) all over Iraq,” Sen. Carper remarked to a crowd of elected officials, military personnel and business partners at the annual Team Dover Mil-Con Breakfast.

“We couldn’t do it without you.”

The annual gathering provided a forum for DAFB leadership to update community partners on achievements and look ahead for future facility improvements and civic engagement plans.

New 436th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Ethan C. Griffin highlighted the 9,600-foot construction of north-south runway 01-19 that “will insure project mobility from the Eastern Seaboard for the next 50 years.”

The over $102 million project required a team effort throughout the 28-month construction, and Col. Griffin said it was “An amazing job from the contractors to civilian workers and all of our CE team.”

To say the least, according to Col. Griffin, “It’s been a busy summer … We’ve had a lot of transition.”

Also coming within two years is a new elementary and middle school complex to support base families, which will take contract bids in 2017 and is expected to require a two-year building process.

According to Col. Griffin, DAFB’s $564 million economic impact could build 346 University of Delaware football stadiums, and the 11,104 total force strength is about the size of Smyrna.

In the future, Col. Griffin envisions a multi-bay hangar to house C-5 and C-17 aircraft fully within the enclosure. In Fiscal Year 2016, DAFB aircrafft flew to 216 airfields in 81 countries.

U.S. Sen Chris Coons said the $83 million to construct the new schools and airplane maintenance hangar is written into law, though further appropriations will not be determined until 2017.

“This is one team that has exceeded its expectations this year and that’s due to the great people here in Dover,” Sen. Coons said.

“… I get to brag on it in a lot of places.”

There’s a special bond between DAFB and its surrounding population, according to Sen. Coons.

“This is a base strongly supported by community … you really wrap your arms around Dover Air Force Base, which is really unmatched anywhere in the world,” he said.

Ultimately, the interests of DAFB are worth fighting for, according to U.S. Rep. John Carney, elected as the state’s upcoming new governor earlier this month.

“As a small delegation we have to work harder, we have to work smarter, we have to look for alliances (within the region with states such as Maryland and Virginia) to make sure that our needs meet (the needs of our country),” he said.

“For us, there are no higher priorities than Dover Air Force Base.”

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