MCAS Yuma continues positive impact on economy
Upcoming additions and changes at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma are welcome news for Yuma County.
Col. Robert Kuckuk recently announced that Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 (VMX-22) will be relocating to MCAS Yuma from MCAS New River, N.C., within the next 18 months. The squadron is relocating here to do testing and evaluation of the Osprey, the latest aircraft to join Yuma's airspace.
Eventually, the Marine Corps plans to consolidate all of its Operational Training and Evaluation squadrons in Yuma over the coming years – which is huge, both for the Yuma base and community, and could mean the addition of around 800 people total.
This comes on the heels of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35. Yuma was the first base in the Marine Corps to receive the new plane, of which MCAS Yuma has received three of an eventual 88. The squadrons will eventually replace the 56 AV-8B Harriers currently stationed here.
The changes at the base to accommodate the new squadrons have brought some much needed income to Yuma's economy. Two hangars have been built on base so far, along with infrastructure improvements, a new flight simulator and a new substation by Arizona Public Service Co.
And there are bigger plans in the works as well, including a new auxiliary landing field, a security operations building and three more F-35 hangars. In fact, contracts have already been awarded for two of those hangars.
All of these changes have a positive impact on Yuma's economy. The construction means an influx of dollars being spent in our economy – to the tune of about $500 million by 2015.
It also means an influx of people, which will have a huge impact on Yuma. Every person brought in translates to more dollars spent in our restaurants and retail spaces, which is an automatic win for Yuma.
Col. Kuckuk noted that the community paid a major part in bringing the F-35 to Yuma, with campaigns to show that the community is 100 percent behind the new squadrons. The addition of VMX-22 is a bonus that the Yuma community welcomes with open arms.