Military bases should not be taken for granted
Just about everyone in the Yuma community is at least somewhat aware of the existence of the two military bases here: Yuma Proving Ground and the Marine Corps Air Station.
Many are also aware of how important they are economically to the Yuma area — but maybe not just how important.
A presentation by the two base commanders — Marine Col. Robert Kuckuk and Army Col. Reed Young — last week at the Know Yuma Inside and Out business forum gave a lot of insight into their impact.
Here is some of the information they provided:
• MCAS Yuma has 4,427 military personnel stationed there, 7,649 family members, 873 civilian workers and 1,299 contact workers. In addition, more that 15,000 military personnel rotate in and out for training in the course of the year.
• The Marine base is undergoing a dramatic transformation with major infrastructure upgrades and construction of new buildings to reflect the strategic role it will play in the rollout the new F-35B fighter aircraft, also known as the Lightning II. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on the work.
• YPG depends heavily on a civilian workforce from the community. It has 149 military personnel, 865 civilian employees and 1,496 workers employed by civilian contractors. It has a payroll of $161 million and $221 million in contract dollars. In addition, some 10,000 people came to the base for short-term assignments last year.
Many of those who work at the bases are in highly paid skilled positions. Various supplies and services needed at the base are also purchased locally.
Because we are so familiar with the military operations which have been in place for decades here, we forget the huge economic impact they have. They should never be taken for granted.