Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 17, 2013

Grissom officials tout base's impact

Facility injected $118 million intolocal economy.

From staff reports
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Officials at Grissom Air Reserve Base say the base, which employs 2,600 people, is a major economic driver for the region.

The Air Force’s 434th Air Refueling Wing, based out of Grissom, recently announced Grissom had a more than $118 million economic impact on the local economy in the 2013 fiscal year.

“Grissom is a huge part of this community, and we are proud of that fact,” said Col. Don Buckley, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander. “Because of our important mission, we injected over $118 million into the local economy last year, and in return, the community provides us with hardworking, mission-focused personnel ready to get the job done to keep America safe.

“On top of that, the community is extremely supportive of the military,” Buckley continued. “It truly is a win-win for all involved.”

Jim Tidd, Miami County Economic Development Authority director, agreed with that assessment.

“As the largest employer, Grissom has a tremendous positive impact on not only the local economy, but on the regional one as well,” said Tidd. “That’s something we can’t take for granted.”

The base contributed more than $70 million in military and civilian payroll alone last year.

On top of that, Grissom, in many aspects, is like a small city, with its own fire and police departments, store, workers, families and community. And, like any city, the base purchases goods, services, utilities, office supplies, fuel and equipment from the civilian community.

Through those purchases last year, the base contributed more than $23 million to the economy.

And, as with any major employer, indirect jobs are created in the communities that support the base, said Jason Dunn, 434th ARW comptroller.

Last year, the value of those jobs created reached over $23 million.

“From the contractors that are able to get work there to the members of the 434th ARW buying goods and services in our community, there’s no doubt Grissom has a huge impact on our local economy,” concluded Tidd.

Grissom is home to not only the 434th ARW, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command, but also three Army Reserve units and a Marine Corps communication detachment.