A renovated building complex, more people, funding and resources were reason enough to celebrate Sunday at McConnell Air Force Base.
U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt helped commemorate the new 931st Air Refueling Group's maintenance complex during a ribbon-cutting Sunday afternoon.
"Expansion to the 931st Maintenance mission is expected to bring more than 400 new jobs to McConnell Air Force Base," said Master Sgt. Jason Schaap with the public affairs office of the 931st Air Refueling Group at McConnell.
The new jobs include 130 full-time and more than 274 part-time positions.
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The U.S. Air Force Reserve's 931st has been stationed at McConnell since 1995 and shares responsibilities for aircraft maintenance with the active-duty 22nd Air Refueling Wing. Both units fly tankers.
In recent years, the base has had an economic impact on the Wichita area of more than $410 million, with the 931st having an impact of more than $25 million on the economy.
With the opening of the new 931st maintenance complex, that impact is expected to increase.
"This is truly an historic occasion for this unit," said Col. Edsel "Archie" Frye Jr., commander of the 931st. "For 15 years we have struggled to be an active partner for our post wing.... Our role is to be a partner and good neighbor. This goes a long way in keeping that."
Tiahrt thanked the members of the 931st who were in the audience for their service in keeping the nation safe.
About 475 airmen are assigned to the group.
"The 931st has been a partner for a long time in spirit," Tiahrt said Sunday.
Finally, they are getting the resources so they are a true partner with the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell, he said.