by Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner
434th ARW Public Affairs
5/20/2014 - GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Normally birds migrate south for the winter, but Grissom's flock is headed southeast this summer.
Nearly all of Grissom's KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft will begin transitioning to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, during a planned 45-day runway construction project here.
"During that time, our Airmen and aircraft will continue their normal
operations at Wright-Patterson," said Col. Bryan Reinhart, 434th Air
Refueling Wing commander. "Non-flying operations will continue as normal
here at Grissom; we're just moving the aviation training and alert
mission over to Ohio during the repairs so we don't miss a beat."
The estimated $3.2 million project will temporarily close Grissom's
runway June 1 and is critical to the long-term use of the runway by both
military and civilian aircraft, said John Robison, 434th Civil Engineer
Squadron chief engineer.
"We are doing this to prevent buckling of the runway due to thermal
expansion," explained Robison. "The pavement heaves up during the summer
time, so we are going to put in expansion joints in the pavement that
allow it to move around and prevent an un-level pavement surface."
While the repairs to Grissom's 12,500 foot runway will briefly cease
aviation operations at Grissom, Reinhart said everything possible was
done to limit the overall impact.
"When we initially looked at these repairs, the projects were spread out
over some length of time," he said. "We've worked really hard to
consolidate these as much as possible so we limit the time our runway is
"We've been working very closely with Jim Tidd, [Miami County Economic
Development Authority director], as well as the local aviation entities
on Grissom to be as flexible as we possibly can," the colonel continued.
"At the end of the day, these repairs are absolutely necessary and will
benefit both military and civilian aviation for years to come."
This is not the first time Grissom's runway has been closed for repair
or that the 434th ARW's aviation operations have moved to
"We did this 10 years ago, and it was really successful," said Lt. Col
Brian Hollis, 72nd Air Refueling Squadron director of operations and
project officer for the move. "A lot of the people that were here in
2004 are still here, and we're benchmarking from that experience to make
this as smooth a transition as possible."
During that 2004 excursion, the 445th Airlift Wing
and 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson partnered with the 434th ARW
to offer a unique opportunity for media outlets to cover all three
units. During this year's move, the units are once again partnering to
two unique events not normally possible.
The first media event will be on May 27 when media will be able to
capture imagery of Grissom KC-135s landing at Wright-Patterson and
interview 434th ARW pilots and boom operators.
The second event will be a media flight from Wright-Patterson. Media
representatives will have a unique opportunity to see an aerial
refueling mission from an aircraft different from what is located in
their state as Indiana media will fly on a 445th AW C-17 Globemaster III
and Ohio media will fly on a Grissom KC-135.
Media interested in participating in either of these events should
contact the 434th ARW Public Affairs office at (765) 688-3348.