Air National Guard

186th Air Refueling Wing honored to host CODEL staff

By Maj. Sabrina Dalton
186th Air Refueling Wing

KEY FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Miss. -- The 186th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) hosted staff members of the Mississippi Congressional Delegation (CODEL) and the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) at the base, Aug. 24.

The CODEL and SASC staff heard briefs from 186th ARW Commander Col. Cindy Smith and Naval Air Station Meridian Commanding Officer Capt. Luke Davis who each gave overviews of operations at their respective bases and talked about how the military benefits the local community.

“We are thankful for what our state and nation’s congressional members and staff do to support Meridian’s military bases,” said Col. Smith. “The Chief of the National Guard Bureau recently announced that Key Field would receive back the KC-135 aircraft simulator which will help stimulate the local economy.”

Col. Smith also discussed with the group the value and benefits if Key Field ANGB were to receive the new KC-46 aircraft which would replace the eight KC-135R Stratotankers currently assigned to the Wing.

Capt. Davis talked about the replacement training jets coming to NAS Meridian within the next several years, and how that too will positively impact not only the local economy but our nation by training future fighter jet pilots who traverse the world in support of contingency operations.

“Having the opportunity to brief the members of the congressional staff and Senate Armed Services Committee was very valuable for NAS Meridian,” Davis said. “Keeping our congressional leaders informed is an asset for all branches of the military.”

CODEL and Armed Services Committee staff members who attended the visit represent the offices of congressmen Trent Kelly, Michael Guest and Mike Ezell and senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith.

“It’s so important to see our Mississippi military assets first-hand,” said Elizabeth Joseph, Policy Director for Congressman Michael Guest. “Being able to visit the installations, discuss priorities, see the great things happening in our state, and work on these projects from the federal level is a true honor.”

The visit concluded with an aerial flight over Meridian aboard a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and a tour of a KC-135R aircraft.