WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — SAFB files for funds to hire a consultant in Washington D.C. in order to gain equipment.
The Chamber of Commerce President says the base is using World War II and Vietnam war-style simulations for their training. Obviously, this is not up to par with current fighting techniques. The funds look to allow for up-to-date training equipment.
Approximately 50 percent of airmen find their way to Sheppard.
As our best air defense, the group needs to be equipped with better training mechanisms.
Additionally, the base trains 50 other nations allied with the U.S. Ensuring that our airmen and our allies have the best training is essential.
“So we have facility issues out there,” said President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, Ron Kitchens. “We have the desire to make sure that we get those training planes sooner rather than later. There’s a shortage of them, but we want to make sure we’re higher on the list than other communities and we want to look for new missions.”
Not only does the base train our first line of defense, they also account for 30 percent of Wichita Falls economic activity. As Kitchen’s puts it: if the base grows, we grow; when the base gets new jobs, we get new jobs.
“Leadership at the base is here for two or three years, so we have to be the ones that are constantly worrying about that base,” said Kitchens.
Funding for a military base is difficult to get when the capital is 1500 miles away. Kitchen’s proposal is to put a consultant in D.C.
“We believe we need consultants who are there every day looking for opportunities to grow the mission at Shepherd, ensuring that we get the investment in new facilities and new construction jobs at the base, and making sure that we understand what it takes to to make sure that Sheppard’s here for another 40 years,” said Kitchens.
President of the 4B Board, Tony Fidelie, reported an approved motion to assist in funding a consultant. Fidelie is excited to be able to partner and assist in maintaining Wichita Falls’ greatest economic impacter.
“It’s really exciting time to help partner with truly one of our biggest members of our community, that being the base,” said Fidelie.
With the 4B approval, the motion needs to be approved by City Council before taking effect. Fidelie anticipates that will be in the coming weeks.