By William K. Alcorn
The Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which provides training facilities for thousands of Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy reservists, pumped an estimated $123 million into the local economy in 2012, up $8 million from 2011.
The air reserve station’s primary purpose is to facilitate training of reservists and to be ready to serve anytime, anywhere, said Brig. Gen. Brian Dominguez, commander of the 910th Airlift Wing at YARS and the reserve station.
The air base recently released its 2012 year-end report.
Expenditures for and spending by the 2,000 citizen airmen, sailors, Marines, federal civilian employees and contractors, who primarily live and do business in the Mahoning Valley and other parts of Northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania, contribute to YARS’ infusion of money into the area economy.
The Air Force Reserve Command’s 910th air crew members flew training and other missions nearly every day of the year aboard the C-130H Hercules cargo and personnel aircraft, 12 of which are assigned to the airlift wing, according to the YARS report.
Pilots flew more than 1,200 local sorties for pilot proficiency training using the 9,003-foot runway shared with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, and more than 3,200 proficiency landings on the 3,500-foot assault landing strip owned by the 910th. Also in 2012, the 910th Airlift Wing flew more than 2,200 sorties and more than 5,193 hours in support of training and operational requirements.
The 910th maintains the U.S. Department of Defense’s only large-area, fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control disease-carrying insects, pest insects and undesirable vegetation and disperse oil spills in large bodies of water.
The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport provides the training location for the 910th and other military C-130 cargo planes and aircraft from the Air Force Reserve Command, Air National Guard and Active Duty Air Force units from across the nation. Training missions also included joint operations with Army, Navy and Marine Corps paratroop jumpers, Dominguez said.
The 910th also maintains a close working relationship with the airport and supports it with a full-time fire, crash and rescue force from the 910th Fire Department, which responded to 22 off-base calls in 2012 including 15 structural fires and four hazardous-materials responses.
In 2012, reservists deployed in support of contingency operations to places such as Kuwait, Turkey, Iraq and many other countries. The missions required the reservists to be away from their families and full-time jobs for up to six months to support their active duty Air Force counterparts as part of the Aerospace Expeditionary Force.
In November 2012, the 910th was named the 2012 Air Force Reserve Command Safety Office of the Year for promoting safety programs resulting in a citation for outstanding achievement for flight safety, enabling the unit to continue its more than 31 years and 146,072 hours of accident-free flying.
In addition to Air Force reservists, YARS is home to 21 full-time support staff or active-duty members at the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center, which contributed to the nation’s defense by mobilizing reservists in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Eleven Marines returned in spring 2012 from a seven- month deployment in Afghanistan. Three Marines are deployed to Africa serving as members of the Special Purpose Marine Air and Ground Task Force.
Also, the Marine reservists wrapped up their 2012 Toys for Tots campaign, receiving more than 25,000 toys and more than $48,000 in monetary donations for needy children in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
Navy Operational Support Center, Youngstown, deployed 15 sailors in 2012 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Also community-minded, NOSC Youngstown began an outreach program at Maplewood Elementary School in Trumbull County through the Navy’s Adopt-a-School Program.
The Navy and Marine Corps reservists teamed up to engage in community outreach civil- engineering projects, most recently erecting two pavilions at a local Boy Scout camp.
“The support of the local community and organizations, such as the Youngstown Air Reserve Base Community Council, has helped contribute to our success and the ability of all of our reservists to serve their country and their civilian employers,” Dominguez said.