Conrad discusses future GFAFB missionsSen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., met with Col. Donald Shaffer of the Grand Forks Air Force Base on Tuesday to discuss ongoing efforts to secure future missions for the base.
By: Forum Communications Co. report, The Jamestown Sun
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., met with Col. Donald Shaffer of the Grand Forks Air Force Base on Tuesday to discuss ongoing efforts to secure future missions for the base.
The base was the host of a tanker refueling mission for 50 years, but the mission ended last December as the final KC-135 Stratotanker left Grand Forks.
In a written statement, Conrad said the Grand Forks base is “ripe” for expansion and new missions as it continues to play a “vital role” in the national defense.
“Col. Shaffer and I discussed a strategy to expand the base’s capabilities, including securing new aircraft and adding additional missions,” he wrote.
The Defense Department last month awarded a contract to Boeing to build the new KC-46A refueling tanker, and Grand Forks is “tentatively scheduled” to get four of the tankers.
The base’s new unmanned aerial systems mission is expected to boost the number of active duty personnel stationed in Grand Forks over the next year.
During the Tuesday meeting in Washington, Conrad also discussed his efforts to secure the delivery of the first Global Hawk Block 40 aircraft to Grand Forks in June to coincide with the Red River Valley Research Corridor’s UAS Summit.
Conrad will join Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Rick Berg today in leading Grand Forks community leaders to the Pentagon for meetings with top Air Force officials to make the case for increased investment at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.
Local officials who will participate in the Pentagon meetings include Mayor Mike Brown, Air Force Civic Leader John Marshall and representatives from the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation.
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