The 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station put $73 million into the local economy in 2001, up from $56 million in 2000.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
VIENNA -- Nearly 600 Air Force reservists from the 910th Airlift Wing were sent on assignments in the United States and to places such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey, Puerto Rico and Spain during 2001.
Members of the 910th were away from their families and jobs for a cumulative 9,456 days to support their active-duty Air Force counterparts in missions at home and around the world, and responded to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 by flying homeland defense missions in support of Operation Noble Eagle, 910th officials said.
In a report on 2001 activities, officials said reserve aircrew members trained two or three times a week aboard the 910th's 16 C-130H Hercules and also trained on weekends practicing low-level flying operations and other types of training.
Training sorties: More than 500 "touch and go" pilot training sorties, where planes land and take off without stopping, were flown using the 9,000-foot runway shared with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, as well as many practice landings on the 3,000-foot assault landing strip owned by the 910th.
The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport is also home for military C-130 cargo and KC-135 air refueling planes from the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units from other parts of the nation.
Boost to local economy: An important side benefit of the 910th's presence is its positive impact on the local economy, said Master Sgt. Bryan Ripple, base spokesman.
Between the wages of its 1,500 employees -- 1,300 military and 200 civilian -- and contract work, the 910th poured about $73 million into the local economy in 2001, up from $56 million in 2000.
In addition to wages and purchasing of its 1,500 employees at local businesses, contractors also benefit. For example, Ambrick of Campbell recently completed a nearly $2 million de-icing pad project that allows for the proper control of de-icing fluid runoff. QBS of Alliance is building a $593,273 indoor hazardous materials storage and recycling facility, which will be a drop-off point and collection center at the air station until they can be removed for proper disposal.
Airport project: The recent $40 million Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport improvement project provides an airfield perfectly suited to meet the demands of the 910th fleet and other types of aviation activity using the airport, Ripple said.
In addition, because the airport's airspace is not congested and is readily available for military air operations, the 910th and other units highly regard the airport as an important training location.
Training missions in 2001 included joint operations with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps paratroops and aerial mosquito and sand flea spray missions for disease control in the southeastern United States.