San Angelo Chamber Delegation Travels to Washington to Push for Goodfellow AFB Expansion
A San Angelo Chamber of Commerce-sponsored leadership delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. November 14, 15 and 16 to update Pentagon officials and Texas Senate and Congressional Leaders on current operations and future needs at Goodfellow Air Force Base.
The chamber delegation lobbied infrastructure and mission expansion at Goodfellow AFB. Specifically, the chamber entourage was seeking funding for more dormitory rooms, classroom training space, enhanced fiber-optic telecommunications infrastructure, cyber and electromagnetic spectrum training, and expanding the base’s role in providing intelligence training for the F-35 fighter aircraft.
“Our meetings served as a great opportunity to showcase the exceptional and important training Goodfellow AFB provides to more than 14,000 Air Force, Army, Marine, Navy and Coast Guard personnel each year,” said Alvin New, Chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee. “In addition to firefighter training, Goodfellow AFB plays a critical intelligence training role for all our branches of service, and it was our goal to remind our military and elected representatives of that importance.”
In addition to New, the Chamber’s delegation included Dr. Carol Ann Bonds, former Superintendent of San Angelo Independent School District and Chair of the Chamber’s Military Relations Committee; Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, USAF Retired; Chamber Board of Directors Chair Jamie Akin; Tom Green County Judge Steve Floyd; and Chamber President Dan Koenig.
The delegation’s meetings with Pentagon officials included five separate meetings with:
- USAF Under Secretary of Defense
- Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence and Reconnaissance
- USAF Deputy Assistant Secretary for Installations, Environment and Logistics
- Assistance Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs
- USMC Director of Intelligence
“We didn’t travel to Washington and the Pentagon to site-see,” said Dr. Bonds. “Our meetings were targeted and specific to underscore the importance of Goodfellow AFB’s mission, infrastructure needs, opportunities for growth and the many strategic partnerships we have established between the base and the City of San Angelo.”
“Our meetings also presented the opportunity to underscore how well San Angelo supports the base, its operations and the military personnel stationed there,” Bonds added. “At present we have more than 17 contracts with our local business partners and nine more in works to help reduce operational costs at the base. These contracts range from outsourcing medical linens and laundry, fire truck maintenance, child care and organized tours of the City for those newly stationed here."
According to Judge Floyd, “Our trip was very timely and we were able to bring Air Force officials up-to-date with the construction status for our new International Training Center. One of my conclusions from our trip is international training is a high priority mission, and our work on the training center fits right in.”
Above: A delegation organized by the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce traveled to Washington, D.C. in November update Pentagon officials and area Senate and Congressional Leaders on operations and future needs at Goodfellow Air Force Base. Pictured near the U.S. Capital is Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, USAF Retired, Dr. Carol Ann Bonds, former Superintendent of San Angelo Independent School District and Chair of the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee, Alvin New, Chair of the Chamber Government Affairs Committee, Chamber Board of Directors Chair Jamie Akin, Tom Green County Judge Steve Floyd and Chamber President Dan Koenig. (San Angelo Chamber of Commerce)
In addition to meetings with Pentagon officials, the delegation also met with staff from the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Conway, Rep. Kay Granger, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn.
“While we are in constant contact with our elected officials back home, it’s extremely important that we make an official visit now and then to underscore San Angelo’s needs related to the importance of Goodfellow,” said Chamber Board Chair Jamie Akin. “Goodfellow AFB accounts for nearly 11,000 students, permanent military, civilians, contractors, dependents and retirees and has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $3 billion to San Angelo and Tom Green County.”
"Goodfellow has been a part of this community for 75 years and we are extremely grateful for the sensational support we've received from San Angelo. The fact that members of our Chamber would take the time to travel to Washington and learn more about our mission typifies this level of support," said 17th Training Wing Commander Col. Michael L. Downs.
"Having been on the "receiving end" of San Angelo Chamber contingent while in uniform, it was gratifying to be a part of the group that showcases all San Angelo has to offer in support to the men and women of Goodfellow," said Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, USAF Retired
“The Chamber plays a critical role in helping grow, maintain and strengthen operations at the Base,” Akin added. “I’m extremely proud of the Chamber’s involvement. We are fortunate to have such great relationships in place with leadership at Goodfellow and in Washington.”