Ocean County Press Release
PRESIDENT TRUMP'S DECISION TO BASE NEW TANKERS AT THE JOINT BASE A BIG WIN FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE AND THE LOCAL ECONOMY, FREEHOLDERS SAY
PRESIDENT TRUMP'S announcement this week that a squadron of new Air Force KC-46A refueling tankers will be stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is a victory both for national defense and the local economy, Ocean County's Freeholders said.
"This decision ensures that the base will continue to play an important role in the defense of our nation well into the 21st century," Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said.
Trump signed a Defense Authorization Act that will base 24 of the new state-of-the-art aircraft at the base starting in 2021.
"The decision by the President to station these brand new aircraft here at the Joint Base will help protect the facility from any future base-closing efforts," said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety.
Kelly spearheaded the county's successful campaign to protect the facility from Congressional base closing initiatives in 1995 and 2005.
Kelly noted there were good reasons to base these new planes at the Joint Base.
"The base is already home to the older KC-135 and KC-10 tankers, which are both being phased out," Kelly said. "The men and women here have the knowledge and expertise to work with this new generation of aircraft."
The Freeholders passed a resolution in early 2017 encouraging the Department of Defense to station the new planes at the Joint Base.
Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, liaison to the Ocean County Military Support Committee, said the decision would also help the local economy.
"The Joint Base is the second largest employer in the state and contributes nearly $7 billion to the local economy each year," Vicari said. "Basing these new aircraft here is not only vital to our national defense, but to our local regional economy as well."
The Freeholders also thanked Ocean County's Congressional Delegation for its efforts to bring the new aircraft to the Joint Base.
"Congressmen Chris Smith, Tom MacArthur and Frank LoBiondo work tirelessly to protect the base because they understand how vital McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is to the security of our nation," Little said
Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr. said the county has also worked closely with the military by purchasing natural land around the base and protecting it from residential and commercial development.
"We're doing our part to prevent encroachment close to the base, which has been a factor in other base closings around the country."
Freeholder Virginia E. Haines said the Joint Base is the nearest airbase to Europe and an ideal location for the deployment of forces overseas and to the Middle East."
"Our Joint Base has a long history of maintaining our forces around the world. These tankers will see that important mission continues for decades to come."