JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez joined command leaders and members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) to welcome the next-generation mid-air refueling aircraft, the KC-46A Pegasus. The new tankers will ensure the long-term viability of the air refueling mission at the Joint Base and maintain base’s critical role in our nation’s security mission. Sen. Menendez has long advocated for the KC-46 tankers to be housed at JBMDL and fought to secure federal resources for JBMDL.
“As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I know that the security challenges facing our nation and our allies have never been more complex or far-reaching,” said Sen. Menendez. “America’s armed forces must be able to defend our interests anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. Hosting the KC-46 secures this Joint Base’s position as the indisputable East coast hub for aerial refueling that extends the Air Force’s global reach.”
“After years of working alongside my colleagues to secure this designation, I am pleased to see JBMDL serve as a permanent home for the KC-46A refueling aircraft,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.). “With its strategic location and strong track record, we have long known that JBMDL was the right choice for the KC-46A. This new mission will continue to support thousands of jobs at JBMDL, create economic opportunity for New Jersey, and strengthen our broader national security.”
More than 44,000 service members, civilians and their families work, train, or live at the Joint Base, New Jersey’s second largest employer whose mission is vital to both our national security and the state’s economy. The air refueling mission of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command is a core mission at JBMDL, which is home to the 305th Air Mobility Wing (Active Component) that supports the delivery of cargo and personnel to combatant commanders abroad, and the 514th Air Mobility (Reserve Component). Both units currently fly the KC-10 Extender, which will be replaced with the new KC-46 tanker. The New Jersey Air National Guard’s 108th Air Wing flies the KC-135 air refueling tanker.
In 2018, Sen. Menendez broke ground on a $146.5 million construction project for new aircraft hangars and other infrastructure to host the KC-46A Pegasus.
After announcing that JBMDL was selected to house the KC-46As in January 2017, Senator Menendez toured the joint-base and met with base commanders and service members to hear their priorities and concerns, as well as answer questions. That May, the senator led a letter requesting a combined $158 million to both support the new KC-46As and to expand the base’s Navy Reserve airfield, which was included in the final FY18 military spending bill to further JBMDL’s mission as a power projection platform.
In July 2016, Sen. Menendez led a delegation letter arguing to the Air Force that JBMDL was best positioned to host the KC-46As based upon its strategic location, existing assets and facilities, and ability to seamlessly and most cost-effectively transition from its current mission. Throughout the process, the Senator continuously met with Air Force generals about the refueling mission, touting JBMDL’s role in the nation’s national defense, and the importance of keeping the refueling mission in this strategic location.
Sen. Menendez met in March 2016 with Air Force General Carlton Everhart, the commander of the Air Mobility Command, who has jurisdiction over Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), to stress the base’s strategic role and critical mission to our national and regional security.
JBMDL has more than 88 mission partners and it is comprised of almost 4,000 facilities representing $9.3 billion in infrastructure. It is the second largest employer in New Jersey. Economic analysis reports that JBMDL generates more than $6.9 billion in economic impact for New Jersey every year.
December 03, 2021