The largest employer in Miami County and the third largest in north central Indiana, Grissom Air Reserve Base was opened by the U.S. Navy in 1942 as Bunker Hill Air Station. Currently, the base is one of only five Air Force Reserve Command bases in the nation. Grissom Air Reserve Base serves as home to the 434th Air Refueling Wing, also known as the “Hoosier Wing.” The unit not only participates in exercises, but also front-line operations that support America’s national interests.
The estimated annual economic impact of Grissom and the 434th on the local community is in excess of $130 million. Its combined workforce reaches 1,800 individuals both military and civilian. However, a recent $13.8 million hangar expansion project will add 200 more civilians this year. In addition to its undeniable economic impact, the base also reaches out into the surrounding community with which it has a long and mutually respectful relationship, including, but not limited to, hiring local merchants for work at the facility. The accumulated and potential value to the community of such relationships—like the recent contract awarded to Dirig Sheet Metal—is hard to reliably quantify, but it is nevertheless significant.
According to Grissom Air Reserve’s website, the 434th Air Refueling Wing holds “the record for most aerial refueling in a one week period when the unit performed 290 aerial refuelings with over one million pounds of fuel offloaded. The unit also set a single day record of refueling 90 aircraft with over 283,000 pounds of fuel offloaded. The 434th is in charge of running Grissom ARB.
The 434th Air Refueling Wing has been involved with military operations such as Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom among others. Because of its strategic role and location, the Hoosier Wing is one of the busiest refueling units in the Air Force, working during both wartime and in peacetime.