Senate Approves $24.4 Million for Guard, Dover Air Force Bases

WASHINGTON (Sept. 23, 2005) – On the heels of the BRAC Commission’s decision to keep the New Castle County Air Guard Base intact, the Senate Thursday night approved legislation that would authorize nearly $5.4 million for upgrades to the base and for design work on a much-needed replacement maintenance hangar, as well as additional construction at Dover Air Force Base. The funds were part of a larger fiscal 2006 military construction appropriations bill that includes $24.4 million for Delaware military installations, including the Guard Base and Dover Air Force Base. The spending legislation will now be reconciled with a competing House measure before being sent to the president’s desk for his signature. “These projects further enhance Delaware’s ability to support our men and women in uniform. The new facilities at the New Castle Air Guard Base will improve the operational readiness of both our Army and Air Guard members. The new facilities at Dover continues our commitment to adequately housing military personnel and begins to prepare the base for its newest mission, C-17s,” said Sen. Joe Biden. “As a whole, this bill contains vital projects that support the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and contributing to our hurricane relief efforts.” “We’re asking more and more of our armed forces each and every day. Our top priority must be to provide them with the tools they will need to get the job done – top-rate facilities that allow for the best work environment,” said Sen. Tom Carper. “This bill provides money for necessary upgrades at both our Air Guard Base and at Dover Air Force Base, so that the men and women who are helping support our efforts in Iraq, Aghanistan and Hurricane Katrina get the best equipment and facilities we can afford. I’m particularly excited that we could get funds to design a new maintenance hangar for the Guard after having saved our 8 C-130 planes from BRAC. If we can get design funds to start that much-needed project through Congress this year, it would be icing on the cake.” Among the projects included in the bill: New Castle County Air Guard $1.44 million to design a new maintenance hangar for the 8 C-130s stationed at the base. The current hangar was built in 1952 and provides only 65 percent capacity of the required functional space for C-130 maintenance. It also does not have required fire suppression or detection systems or sufficient lighting, the roof is leaking, and insulation is falling off the ceiling. A new hangar has been the top priority of the Guard. $1.4 million to make upgrades to the security forces facility at the base in order to accommodate the entire 126-person security unit, install the latest electronic surveillance equipment, expand classroom training potential, and provide adequate locker and latrine facilities. $1.5 million to make repairs to the Reserve Forces Medical Training Facility. The current facility is too small and needs a new roof. This funding will allow all of the Guard’s medical teams to be located together in a properly sized and structurally sound building. $1.08 million to design the expansion of the Army Aviation Support Facility for UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. The project includes a 28,790 sq. ft. rotary-wing hangar expansion, a 9,739 sq. ft. fixed-wing hangar, and a 378,200 sq. ft. ramp. Dover Air Force Base $5 million for a C-17 Flight Simulator Facility to aid pilot readiness and training. $13 million for a new 144 room dormitory to improve the housing conditions for unmarried airmen and women. $1 million to alter existing storage facilities to accommodate C-17 parts.