|Value of Gulf Coast bases climbing
By David Tortorano
...Aviation-focused military bases and sites in the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor
between New Orleans and Northwest Florida saw their replacement value increase
significantly this year over last, soaring to a combined $18.4 billion.
...That’s up 9.8 percent over 2013, according to newly available Pentagon figures.
The region’s seven “billion-dollar” bases increased their replacement value from
$13.61 billion in the 2013 to $15.1 billion in the 2014 Base Structure Report.
...One base alone, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., near Fort Walton Beach, would cost
$805 million more to replace in 2014 than in 2013. That’s an increase of more than
20.5 percent to $4.7 billion. At some 449,000 acres, Eglin is home to aerial weapons
development and is the site where F-35 pilot and maintainers are trained.
...To the west, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., a major technical training center
and home to the Navy’s Blue Angels, has a plant replacement value of $2.5 billion,
while Panama City’s Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., where F-22 pilots are trained, and
Hurlburt Field near Fort Walton Beach, home of the Air Force Special Operations
Command, would cost $1.55 billion and $1.48 billion, respectively, to replace.
...All the bases and sites in Northwest Florida, aviation and non-aviation, went up in
PRV from the previous year’s Pentagon report.
...“The economic impact that is generated from our local military installations in
Northwest Florida, and this increase in the replacement value of their infrastructures,
illustrates the tremendous value that exists in Northwest Florida for our military
operations,” said Larry Sassano, executive director of Florida’s Great Northwest.
...“We’ve always measured the total impact that the military has on the Florida
economy, and that impact is measured in terms of direct and indirect value that
bases and military personnel provide the economy,” he said.
...For Florida as a whole, the military follows tourism, agriculture and international
trade. But the military in Northwest Florida provides the biggest boost to the economy.
...In South Alabama, the PRV of the Army’s aviation center at Fort Rucker went up
$311.6 million to $1.87 billion, a nearly 20 percent increase. Most of South Alabama’s
military sites are outlying fields, stagefields and basefields used for aviation training
by the surrounding bases.
...In South Mississippi’s Biloxi, Keesler Air Force Base is home of a reserve flying
wing that includes the famous Hurricane Hunters, and it’s also the center of Air Force
cyber training. It would cost $1.83 billion to replace. To the north near Hattiesburg, it
would cost $1.1 billion to replace the Camp Shelby training complex, along with
another $17.3 million to replace the camp’s assault runway.
...And those are just the bases with a replacement value better than $1 billion. There
are other major bases, aviation and non-aviation alike, with significant replacement
values each under $1 billion, including Florida’s Naval Support Activity Panama City,
Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, and Corry Station, the center for information
dominance training. In addition, there’s Mississippi’s Naval Construction Battalion
Gulfport, home of the East Coast Seabees, and Louisiana’s NAS Joint Reserve Base
...The military in the region use commercial and private airports for some training,
and operate 20 military outlying airfields in Florida and Alabama. Most are in
...Baldwin County between Pensacola and Mobile, has four outlying fields: Barin
Field, Foley, NOLF Wolf and NOLF Summerdale, both in Summerdale, and NOLF
...In and around the Fort Rucker area, Dale, Coffee, Houston, Conecuh and
Escambia County (Ala.) have 10 outlying fields: 10C Stagefield and Shell Basefield,
Fort Rucker; Cairns Basefield, Daleville; Goldberg Stagefield and Hunt Stagefield,
Ozark; Skelly Stagefield, Kinston; Stinson Stagefield, New Brockton; Toth Stagefield,
Dothan; NOLF Evergreen; and NOLF Brewton.
...In Florida, Santa Rosa County, home of NAS Whiting Field, has four: NOLF
Spencer, Pace, NOLF Santa Rosa, Milton, and NOLF Holley and NOLF Choctaw,
Navarre. Escambia County has two: OLF Bronson and Saufley Field, both Pensacola.
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