A new $600,000 Air Force Reserve recruiting station at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna rises as a hopeful sign that the Mahoning Valley’s largest military employer remains on a path toward a promising future.
The major investment in the air base comes at a time when cutbacks have become the norm for military installations throughout the nation. As a result of congressional inaction and federal budget sequestration, military bases and jobs have been on the chopping block throughout most of this year.
The new center — now located outside the gates of the base — provides easier access for potential recruits while enhancing security of the Air Force Reserve installation. Clearly, it was constructed with an eye toward the future.
So far, the base’s future looks good. YARS and its 910th Airlift Wing have not suffered any deep slashes from the sequestration knife. But that does not mean supporters of the base should let down their guard. The hundreds of jobs and the $100 million a year the base pumps into the Valley’s economy must be protected. Ongoing efforts to lobby Congress and the Pentagon to shield YARS from cuts ought to continue to proceed. Though the investment in the center is relatively minor by military standards, it sends a major signal of the base’s importance and value.