Press Release

Air refueling tankers on course for MacDill AFB and Tampa Bay

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Washington, D.C., March 13, 2014 | comments
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL) announced today that the U.S. Department of Defense’s proposed 2015 budget provides the first glimpse of success from the "MacDill Means Mobility" effort launched in 2012 as the Air Force plans to add eight refueling tanker aircraft, attendant jobs and infrastructure to MacDill Air Force Base.
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U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL) announced today that the U.S. Department of Defense’s proposed 2015 budget provides the first glimpse of success from the "MacDill Means Mobility" effort launched in 2012 as the Air Force plans to add eight refueling tanker aircraft, attendant jobs and infrastructure to MacDill Air Force Base.

“The Tampa Bay community was successful in elevating MacDill’s profile and demonstrating that the base has room to grow as the Air Force modernizes its mission structure,” Rep. Castor said.

“This expanded mission at MacDill and new jobs are a result of our united, bipartisan advocacy effort. No other community can compete with Tampa Bay’s support for MacDill and its personnel, and our next step is to ensure MacDill is in the best position to serve these additional aircraft and grow a talented workforce,” Rep. Castor added.

“This announcement reaffirms the significance for national security of MacDill’s geographic location. It also validates this community and MacDill’s 73-year legacy – when America calls, MacDill and all of Tampa Bay has always responded,” said Brig. Gen. Arthur “Chip” Diehl (Retired) of the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance.

“This announced plan is wonderful news for Tampa Bay as we continue to advance our long-held strategy of focusing on what MacDill can add to the outstanding presence we already have on base. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has a decades-long history of MacDill being a priority commerce driver for Tampa Bay. The Base is one of the elements that makes Tampa a unique and leading community, and we look forward to welcoming the new tanker personnel to town and continuing towards strengthening ties between the military and business community. Special thanks to Rep. Kathy Castor and General Arthur Lichte for their leadership in this effort,” said Bob Rohrlack, president and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

In 2012, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation launched “MacDill Means Mobility,” a bipartisan initiative to champion MacDill’s distinct advantages in competing for the next generation of tankers. Former Base Commander Chip Diehl, former Air Mobility Command Gen. Arthur Lichte and many others guided the effort. Although MacDill was not awarded the first round of the new KC-46 aircraft, Air Force officials intimated that MacDill was well-positioned to attract KC-135s, and possibly the next generation KC-46 in future decades. “MacDill Means Mobility” received bipartisan support:  U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, Congressmen Gus Bilirakis, Rich Nugent, Tom Rooney, Dennis Ross and Bill Young, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham.

“While the competition was tough for new KC-46 tankers and we did not succeed in the first round, we vowed to continue advocating for jobs and economic opportunities tied to the missions of the base,” Rep. Castor said. “Last year, I was assured by the Air Force that MacDill’s KC-135 tankers would endure for many years, if not decades, and I am delighted now that our Air Mobility mission is poised to grow. As I have stated before, Tampa is a ‘tanker town’ and we intend to keep it that way.”

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Tags: Military