|  Membership Directory  |  Member Login
Join Now!
Join us for Chairman's Lunch { Feb. 7 }
2017 Chair Scott Schwindaman
 Presented by Grant Thornton LLP
Home > Government Relations > Military Presence
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Become a Chamber Insider!

Military Presence

McConnell Air Force Base

Wichita is home to McConnell Air Force Base and the 22d Air Refueling Wing (ARW). The Wing’s mission is to conduct air refueling and airlift operations supporting national objectives in any part of the world, in any condition or climate. Our mission also includes support for the Department of Defense in many contingency situations, from strategic force projection and strategic mobility, to humanitarian assistance.

The 22d ARW flies the KC-135 Stratotanker. The largest KC-135 Stratotanker base in the world, McConnell’s fleet flies air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and airlift missions worldwide. Its Airmen serve globally; many are taking part in current operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

McConnell’s missions are accomplished alongside the 931st Air Refueling Group of the Air Force Reserve and the 184th Intelligence Wing of the Kansas Air National Guard.

Economic Impact

Employment - Active Duty 3,066
Total Employment - Active Duty, Guard, Reserve & Civilians 7,153
Economic Impact $619.1 M

 Source: McConnell AFB (September 2012)

Honorary Commander Program

The Honorary Program is designed to provide an interactive learning experience that increases public awareness and understanding of the armed forces; the mission, policies and programs of the AF by affording influential civilians the opportunity to get an up-close and personal look at MAFB and the USAF. The program has two levels of participation. The first level is Honorary Commanders: civic leaders who are paired with a McConnell AFB commander and invited to participate in a variety of activities held on base. The second level, Golden Eagle, is the graduate level of the Honorary Commander program. This program recognizes non-military citizens of the area whose character, personal dedication and outstanding support exemplify the standards to which the 22d Air Refueling Wing warrior spirit strives.

The Friends of McConnell (FOM) is a select group of area individuals and business leaders dedicated to providing a meaningful social and economic linkage between senior military leaders and their metropolitan civilian counterparts. The group maintains a Facebook page.

The Friends of McConnell expresses community pride and appreciation of area military by providing organizational and financial support for Commander directed programs and strives to make McConnell the most appreciated assignment in a McConnell airman’s or officer’s career.

Chamber Tanker Task Force

This temporary task force was formed in 2012 to accomplish one goal: to secure the selection of McConnell Air Force Base as the Main Operating Base for the KC-46A. The Task Force was chaired by Wayne Roberts and consisted of representatives of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, the City of Wichita, the City of Derby, Sedgwick County, and Spirit AeroSystems.

Boeing will initiatlly deliver 18 tankers to McConnell Air Force Base. Eventually McConnell's fleet will consist of 36 tankers that are based in Wichita.

U.S. Navy

The new USS Wichita under construction in a Wisconsin shipyard is actually the third ship to bear Wichita’s name. This version of the USS Wichita (LCS-13) will be nearly 400 feet long and sprint at top speeds of over 40 knots.

The vessel’s crest was recently unveiled and the design offers insight into the history of our city. The red and white partition of the shield and the Zia Sun are properties from the flag of the City of Wichita. The city's flag was adopted 79 years ago and each design element has a specific meaning. The red and white rays symbolize the path of freedom to come and go as one pleases. The blue disc or sun represents happiness and contentment. Stitched on the blue sun is an Indian symbol for Hogan or permanent home, represented by a white circle with four sets of three parallel rays emanating from the circle’s principal axis.

Along with the flag, the crest displays other familiar city and state symbols. A buffalo skull symbolizes the Wichita Indians, wheat stalks represent the main crop of Kansas and its residents, and feathers pay tribute to Wichita’s Native American heritage. The ship’s motto, “KEEPER OF THE SEAS,” honors Wichita's iconic Keeper of the Plains sculpture.

The USS Wichita should be christened in early fall. The two previous ships named after Wichita earned 17 battle stars and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

Contact Pat Gallagher (316-268-1157) at the Chamber for more details about upcoming USS Wichita events.

Section Highlights:
  • Check the Friends of McConnell Facebook page to learn more about the important role the Base plays in Wichita's economy.
  • See the 2015 State Legislative Scorecard on the Bill Tracking page.


Barby Jobe
VP - Government Relations