Chapter to Support 186ARW

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A local club designed to support the 186th Air Refueling Wing got its Air Force charter Wednesday.

It has been over 40 years since the Air Force Association added a chapter.

"We hope, with support, to build an organization that can support the Refueling Wing during this time of world terrorism," said Len Vernamonti, president of the Mississippi Air Force Association.

"There has never been one here to support the Air Guard," said Roy Gibbens, president of the Meridian Chapter 376.

Along with the mission of supporting the 186th, the goal of the organization is to also educate the community about air power, advocate air power and support troops and units doing a global mission.

"We're a complement to the Navy League and hope to highlight the importance of what the 186th means to the community and the economy," said Col. Erik Hearon, commander of the 186th Air Refueling Wing.

With the Base Closure and Realignment Commission process fast approaching, supporters say the addition of the chapter will garner more community support for the wing.