Reeves touts military investment for 186th ARW
JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a news release Friday elaborating on a $20 million investment approved earlier this year for Meridian’s Key Field. He said the state is preparing its military forces ‘for the future fight through aviation investment and robust multi-domain training for long-range missions in contested environments.’
Twenty million dollars was authorized for a new fire rescue station and to convert the existing facility into a small air terminal and deployment processing center at the home of the 186th Air Refueling Wing.
The fire rescue station supports all Air and Army National Guard aviation assets as well as the Meridian Regional Airport’s civilian and commercial traffic. Key Field has the most air traffic of any airport in Mississippi, reaching over 92,000 in 2022.
Reeves noted the 186th’s role for decades in supporting missions around the globe including the recent downing of a Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic. The governor said the continuing investment and training will ensure operational readiness at all times.
Gov. Reeves said the next generation of tankers, the KC-46 platform, will fly farther to project power, employ assets and sustain missions. The KC-46 has multi-mission capabilities that allows it to reach remote locations where space flexibility and joint operations are necessary to meet objectives against emerging threats.
To prepare for these threats, the state recently hosted SOUTHERN STRIKE, an annual National Guard Bureau exercise that combined joint U.S. forces and international allies for a 15-day integrated combat training exercise across air, land, sea and cyber domains.
Over 2,000 personnel from 47 units around the country participated in this year’s exercise which focused on a new scheme of maneuver called Agile Combat Employment (ACE). ACE disperses forces to multiple locations while providing the maximum flexibility to rapidly maneuver people and equipment. The training allowed units to practice combat tactics, command and control, and employing assets over large distances.
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