WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — About an hour after a Capitol police officer was killed in a car attack at the U.S. Capitol, 13th District Congressman Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) and local leaders applauded Sheppard Air Force Base’s improved security.
SAFB hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new entrance gate, a project 20 months in the making.
Officials hope the new front door to Sheppard will keep our airmen safe for many years to come.
With the cut of a ribbon, months of planning, coordinating, and overcoming obstacles finally came to an end.
“I think that’s one of the best things that can be said, combat and capability starts here,” Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana said. “Let’s hear it again, combat and capability starts here, there we go, we are going to get excited about this event.”
Through a partnership between federal, state, and local officials, a new security gate built outside SAFB has been in operation since November.
“To execute an almost nine million dollar project on a military installation is about as close as miraculous as you ever will see,” 82nd Mission Support Group commander Col. Joshua DeMotts said at the ceremony.
Congressman Jackson agrees, calling it a remarkable achievement for the home of the most diverse training installation in the air force.
“This is going to provide the level of safety that work and live here need. we can see even based on what happened at the Capitol today [Friday],” Jackson said. “How important it is to have a perimeter and have a strong front gate to anywhere especially to anywhere as critical as SAFB is so very proud to be here today.”
Not only for the gate’s strength but for the feeling he gets when he first arriving on base.
“I was struck by how much of a little international city Wichita Falls is with all of the foreign folks who come to train on a regular basis and live here,” Jackson said. “So it’s great to provide that first impression to people who don’t live in the United States as well so Wichita Falls is an ambassador to all of that.”
Opening a gate to a better and brighter future for Wichita Falls and people who will one day call Texoma home.
The main gate project also includes a heritage circle plaza with a T-38 static display, re-installation of the “maintenance man” statue of Lt. Leo Marquez and more sidewalks.