Keesler's economic impact on Mississippi Gulf Coast over $1.1 billion

  • Published
  • By Keesler News Staff
  • 81TRW Public Affairs
Keesler's total economic impact for fiscal 2007 has been calculated at over $1.1 billion.

The figure was finalized last week as base officials completed the annual pro-cess of data assimilation and validation.

"Keesler's role as a significant player in the local economy is something we're proud of," said Col. Greg Touhill, 81st Training Wing commander.

"The people of South Mississippi can rest assured Keesler will continue to play a huge part in the development and growth of our region."

In addition to employee payroll figures and construction and purchases ($596 million), the total economic impact includes military retiree pay and the value of volunteer services, as well as jobs indirectly created on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Keesler is well on the way to a full recovery from Hurricane Katrina through a massive $950 million rebuilding program. The number of people employed on base and the technical training student population are approaching pre-Katrina levels. This resurgence is reflected in the employee payroll, construction and purchases.

Keesler currently employs 11,200 people, including nearly 6,900 military. In addiction, the base's presence created nearly 3,500 local and contract jobs.

As one of the Air Force's major training centers, on any given day more than 2,900 students train at Keesler in more than 460 courses in subjects such as communications-electronics, medical, personnel, airfield management, weather forecasting and air traffic control.

"Our mission at Keesler focuses on reloading the Air Force" said Colonel Touhill. "Last year, we supplied almost 27,000 Airmen, international and sister service personnel, just the kind of high-tech, battle-ready warriors our nation needs in this time of war.

"Our training is back up to pre-Katrina levels, even while we are still in the midst of rebuilding. Keesler's training mission is essential to winning the war on terror. Go to any theater around the world where U.S. troops are stationed, and no doubt you'll find a Keesler-trained warrior working there," the colonel added.

In addition, 89,629 documented hours were volunteered by Keesler members in FY07 to coast community projects and organizations in humanitarian operations as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina.

However, hurricane recovery is just one of the many ways Keesler Airmen contribute to the community. For example, each year Keesler hosts the Mississippi State Special Olympics Summer Games, accommodating more than 800 athletes and coaches from across the state. Thousands of Keesler volunteers serve the games in every capacity from team partners to timekeepers.

In 2008, Keesler will hosts the Boy Scouts of America's Pine-Burr Area Council's Merit Badge Camporee.

"When I returned to Keesler in October to assume command of the 81st Training Wing, I codified our mission into what has been called our 'Three Rs: Rebuilding the base, Renewing the community and Reloading the Air Force,'" said Colonel Touhill.

"Our emphasis is on taking care of our people by providing the best environment for our troops and their families, continuing our commitment to be engaged and active members of the Gulf Coast community, and providing the battle-ready warriors our nation needs. Rest assured, the men and women of Keesler are up to the task."

2007 Economic Impact Statement

2006 Economic Impact Statement