The McGhee-Tyson ANGB is located on McGhee-Tyson Airport in Alcoa, Tennessee and is approximately 13 miles south of Knoxville, Tennessee. The installation is home to the 134th Air Refueling Wing and consists of 358 acres. The base is located on the northwest side of the airport with a total of 39 buildings: 22 industrial, 10 administrative, 3 dormitories, and 4 service buildings; totaling 651,000 square feet. Day-to-day activities are managed by a force of 823 full-time personnel. Two weekends per month the population increases to 1700 during military training assemblies. The 134th Air Refueling Wing flies KC-135E tankers and its mission is to train, equip, and maintain units and individuals to meet worldwide requirements for federal day-to-day and mobilization missions and state emergencies.
The Tennessee Air National Guard's 134th Air Refueling Group operates 10 aircraft at McGhee Tyson Airport. The Guard's KC-135E tankers provide refueling to the country's military aircraft and also played a very instrumental role in Desert Storm. In addition, the Army Aviation Support Facility, the 110th and 119th Tactical Control Squadrons and the 228th Combat Communications Squadron operate on the base. An adjacent twelve-acre parcel houses the 119th Tactical Control Squadron (GSU), Alcoa Air National Guard Station, and a Tennessee Army National Guard unit.
The Academy of Military Science at the I.G. Brown ANG Training and Education Center is a deceptive place. Nine modern brick classroom and administration buildings, dormitories, a gymnasium and a dining hall comprise the I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center. It includes a noncommissioned officers academy for Air Guard, Air Reserve and active Air Force enlisted people. It looks like a prospering small college. For would-be officers, however, AMS has been the Air National Guard's equivalent to England's Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst since it opened for business in 1971. Five or six classes of nearly 100 students are trained there each year. The 10,000th officer graduated in August 1999. Nearly 350 Air Force Reserve officers have completed the program since 1994. 95 percent do earn their commissions in the six weeks many take off from civilian jobs. They do it in half of the time it takes to complete the Air Force's 12-week Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. The curriculum of 338 hours covers the same communications skills, leadership, professional development and defense studies that are the heart of the basic officer courses at Maxwell, at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and at college ROTC programs across the country. The average age for AMS students is nearly 30. They average close to nine years of enlisted service. Some have become senior NCOs. Many have served on foreign soil. Many are married with children and mortgages. All have college degrees, and many have master's.
McGhee Tyson Airport is the premier air facility in East Tennessee, serving the commercial airline industry, air cargo, military aviation and general aviation. With parallel 9,000 feet runways, McGhee Tyson Airport can accommodate any size aircraft in today's inventory. Located 12 miles south of downtown Knoxville, the airport occupies more than 2,000 acres of land with space for additional air cargo facilities or economic development.
In 1991, the Air Cargo Complex was completed by the Airport Authority, providing a 21-acre facility for Federal Express, UPS and Airborne Express. Each of these carriers were provided a building designed to meet their specific needs, along with almost 430,000 square feet of aircraft apron areas and more than 200,000 square feet of vehicular parking areas. The total cost for the construction project was $9.3 million. Federal Express and United Parcel Express together account for almost 90 percent of the air freight market at McGhee Tyson Airport.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Birmingham International Airport Air Guard Station (AGS), AL. It would distribute the 117th Air Refueling Wing's KC-135R aircraft to the 134th Air Refueling Wing, McGhee-Tyson Airport AGS (four aircraft) and two other bases. Although McGhee-Tyson (74) ranked lower than Birmingham (63) (see BRAC Recommendations for rank explanation), DoD's military judgment argued in favor of retaining and adding force structure to this installation to increase its overall effectiveness. The Air Force considered McGhee-Tyson's available capacity and Air National Guard experience in replacing aging, high maintenance KC-135E aircraft with re-engined KC-135R models and in increasing the squadron from 8 to 12 aircraft.
DoD also recommended to realign Beale Air Force Base, CA by distributing Beale's KC-135R aircraft from the 940th Air Refueling Wing (ANG) to the 134th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), McGhee-Tyson Airport Air Guard Station, TN (four aircraft) and another base. McGhee-Tyson (74) had above average military value for reserve component bases in the tanker mission. Beale's more modern KC-135R aircraft would replace the older, higher maintenance KC-135E models at McGhee-Tyson. The resulting KC-135R increase would increase the tanker force structure into squadron sizes that are more operationally effective.
In another recommendation, DoD recommended to realign March Air Reserve Base, CA by distributing the 163d Air Refueling Wing's (ANG) nine KC-135R aircraft to the 134th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), McGhee-Tyson Airport Air Guard Station, TN (one aircraft) and several other bases. McGhee-Tyson, though rated lower in military value, would receive one aircraft due to military judgment to robust the squadron to a more effective size of 12 aircraft.
DoD also recommended to realign Key Field Air Guard Station, MS. It would distribute the 186th Air Refueling Wing's KC-135R aircraft to the 134th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), McGhee-Tyson Airport Air Guard Station, TN (three aircraft) and other installations. DoD claimed that it recommended this realignment because McGhee-Tyson (74) ranked higher in military value rating for the tanker mission than Key Field (92). In addition, Key Field's newer KC-135R aircraft would help replace McGhee-Tyson's older, higher maintenance KC-135E models, and help robust the unit size.
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