JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.- —
Service members and local civic leaders gathered to attend the KC-46 Pegasus hangar construction ground-breaking ceremony in Dock 23, here, Dec. 3, 2018.
Construction begins today due to the efforts and hard work from community leaders, congress members and joint base senior leaders making it the new home to the KC-46.
“Without this, the greatest war fighting machines that we have we cannot make it across the pond,” said U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross. “Without these refuelers we literally come to a halt.”
The two-bay hangar project was assessed and presented for funding. Once approved, the ground work was laid for construction to begin today.
“Today marks a visible start of a project that has been years in the making, the team has worked for years planning the required infrastructure and personnel needed to host the new KC-46,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Neil Richardson, Joint Base MDL and 87th Air Base Wing commander. “Through this planning it was discovered that although we were an existing tanker base, upgrades were needed to enable the full operations of this new and extremely capable aircraft.”
With the capabilities that the KC-46 brings, the aircraft is expected to increase reliability and sustainability over the current legacy fleet in hopes that it will provide more flexibility to operations for Air Mobility Command.
“Since 1948, McGuire has been a key asset to our United States; we have always been the hub for operations going from America to Europe,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John Gordy, United States Air Force Expeditionary Center commander. “Joint Base MDL has been home to several air frames over many years so it seems more than fitting with the rich history of air refueling operations at McGuire that this base will be home to the KC-46.”
The KC-46 tankers may also enhance the joint base's strategic value as the East Coast hub for air mobility and air lift missions.
“We are truly a total force mobility hub for the East Coast and proud to be there,” said Richardson. “From a base perspective, we will support the base construction efforts and transitions to the KC-46 by ensuring the best possible base support services for our customers. As we break ground today, I’m excited to see our plans become a reality and we will deliver great facilities for our Airmen of today and in the future.”
Over 44,000 military and civilian employees go to work each day in support of this base, making it the second largest employer in New Jersey.
“Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst adds nearly seven billion dollars to New Jersey’s economic output annually making it a vital economic engine of state as well,” said Robert Menendez, U.S. senator for New Jersey. “So as we break ground of this 146-and-a-half million dollar endeavor and build out the infrastructure needed to support these 24 next-generation air refueling tankers we do so clear eyed about our most enduring mission.”