JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. —
The KC-46 Pegasus may not be arriving at Joint Base MDL until fiscal year 2021, but agencies around the base are hard at work preparing for its arrival.
The changes are currently in the planning stages, and construction, to renovate and build new buildings, is scheduled to begin by the end of fiscal year 2018.
“It’s all going to happen at once,” said Mike Matheis, 787th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy director. “We have 11 different projects and some of those projects involve multiple buildings.”
Some changes the base can expect are updated maintenance and refueling squadron buildings and a new dual-bay hangar.
“The new two-bay hangar is by far the largest project,” Matheis said. “Our challenge is several functions and people that are going to be temporarily moved in such a way that the mission can continue.”
The biggest difficulty the base foresees is consolidating units and having them share space while ensuring the mission is completed.
“We will be spending time coming up with a plan to move the displaced people to facilities that they can continue to operate,” said Mike Polhemus, 305th Operations Group deputy director. “We know the KC-10 [Extender] is going to be here operating for years to come, and we need to maintain that capacity. It’s not like we can turn it off, do the construction and then turn it back on.”
Despite the changes, the majority of facilities will remain untouched on base and won’t need to be adjusted for the Pegasus arrival.
“Our runway is sufficient for the operations of the aircraft,” Polhemus said. “The operational environment, our three-dimensional airspace and our training areas are all compatible.”
The renovations and new buildings will also benefit the local economy.
“The contractors that will be working here are from the local community,” Polhemus said. “The infusion of these dollars is good for the base and for the community.”
Many functions are working together to make this transition happen, from Civil Engineer to Base Operations.
“There is nothing easy about this transition,” said Polhemus. “The only way for us to do it is with communication and working together.”