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McConnell Air Force Base finalist for national award

  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, at 11:13 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, at 3:54 p.m.

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McConnell Air Force Base is a finalist for a top national honor awarded annually to military installations for all four service branches.

It’s one of two bases being considered for the 2012 Commander-in-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award for an Air Force installation, a base spokesman said.

McConnell competed against more than 100 Air Force bases before the field was narrowed to the final two. Kessler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., is the other finalist.

Army, Navy and Marine installations are being considered separately for the same award for their service branches.

The award was created in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. It encourages commanders to create an environment that promotes innovative and creative ways to enhance installation services, facilities and quality of life.

Some of McConnell’s accomplishments during fiscal year 2012 that put it in line for the award:

• It established the Air Force’s largest recycling program to replace the runway by reusing runway pavement.

• It upgraded 1950s-era runway lights.

• It upgraded a fitness area and sports field complex.

• It used innovative programs to reduce aircraft damage from bird strikes by 30 percent.

McConnell will undergo one more inspection in January. The winner is expected to be announced about a month later.

The Wichita base is home to the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, the reserve’s 931st Air Refueling Group and the Kansas Air National Guard’s 184th Intelligence Wing.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com.

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